Bonfire season in Sweden can be violent

Bonfire season in Sweden can be violent

10 April 2009

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Sweden — Police in the Gothenburg archipelago on Sweden’s west coast hope that this year’s Easter bonfire competition will be a peaceful one.

“Last year was calm. No reports were made related to the spruce wars,” Bjorn Lansten, a Gothenburg police spokesman, told The Local.

The truce in the spruce wars was no accident. A couple of years ago, police stepped up patrols in the northern archipelago during the days leading up to Easter to prevent the competition for fuel from turning violent.

Ingela Olsson, part of a volunteer patrol, said that the bonfires are not the major problem.

The problem is that alcohol is often consumed,” she told the news agency TT.

In addition to fighting over branches, the teens and young men involved have in the past set tires on fire, sending a poisonous haze over the area, stolen wood from private property and used empty summer houses to store their bonfire supplies.

Olsson said parents need to control their teenagers.

“They insist that they are going out to ‘hunt for spruce’ and they put on their blue trousers and come home black as soot,” she said. “You can’t miss what is going on.”

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