Christian Democrat deputy silent about the flag controversy in the South
Christian Democrat Deputy leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad is silent about the battle regarding the rainbow flag in the south of Norway. Several mayors refuse to raise the flag and two flags have recently been removed.
Ropstad’s father is one of six Christian Democrat (KrF) mayors in the south of Norway who refuse to raise the rainbow flag during ‘Skeive Sørlands dager’ this week.
Parliamentary candidate for MDG, Eivind Trædal, believes Ropstad ought to have an opinion on why so many Christian Democrat led municipalities say no to raise the flag.
– As a primary candidate and deputy leader, he has a special responsibility to clarify his stance when the locals take such a clear position, says Trædal to VG.
Ropstad prevaricates that, being a parliamentary representative, that he does not discuss matters that are decided locally. Asked whether he supports his father, Mayor Bjørn Alfred Ropstad in Evje and Hornnes municipality, he writes the following in an email to the newspaper:
– I respect local democracy even in the family.
Ropstad however states that he agrees with Trædal, who believes the Nazi march in Kristiansand recently, requires the society to resist those groups.
Ropstad says, however, that he believes that Trædal does not believe that you are positive to Nazi marches just because you disallow the rainbow flag.
Birkenes is one of 21 municipalities that chose to raise the rainbow flag this week, but on the night before Thursday it was removed by unknown persons.
– It’s very stupid and sad that this has happened. We have decided to report the incidence, says Mayor Anders Christiansen, to Fædrelandsvennen.
Around 5 pm on Thursday, the rainbow flag outside the town hall of Lillesand was also removed.
– A man in a hooded sweatshirt is observed as he lowered the flag and ran off, says Mayor Arne Thomassen to Lillesands-Posten. He agreed to raise the flag to signify that Lillesand is an inclusive and diverse society.
Grimstad took an about turn
Kristiansand came to Lillesand to the rescue, and Thursday evening the flag was again raised.
– We got it from Kristiansand, but we considered maybe calling Grimstad or Vennesla and ask them for a flag that they were not using, says Thomassen, with a glint in his eye, to Agderposten.
They had to waive Grimstad’s flag anyway. After an overwhelming majority of the representatives voted for raising the flag, Mayor Kjetil Glimsdal had to bend his knee.
– I realized that there was a majority to do this as an exception, and not to be interpreted as what we want to stand for as a community in Grimstad, says Glimsdal to Grimstad Addressetidende.
The police in Agder inform NTB that they seek information from witnesses of the removal of the flag. Furthermore they state that they treat the case on par with thievery. No one is arrested as of yet.
The Organization for Gender and Sexual Diversity (FRI) sent rainbow flags to all 30 Agder municipalities and urged the mayors in southern Norway to raise the iconic flag during Skeive Sørlandsdager this week.
Former Minister of Equality, Anniken Huitfeldt (Labour), reacts to the flag theft and says all Mayors now have to be clear that homosexuality is accepted. She hopes that the municipalities who have said no to raise the rainbow flag will change their mind.
Especially after the Neo-nazi march in Kristiansand, she believes it is important to mobilize for diversity.
– Politicians grant money and make laws, but with relatively simple symbolic meassures, you can change many lives. The showing of the flag has nearly a double meaning, says Huitfeldt to NTB.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today