The temporary arming of the Norwegian police this time lasts to June 7th. Thus the police on May 17th will guard the country armed to the teeth.
VG has asked mayors and leaders of 17 May committees in the largest cities what they think about armed police to guard the procession this year. Many believe it is sad, but all say they have confidence in the police assessments.
The temporary arming of the police is due to threats from the Islamic State (ISIS) and the day of May 17, is an obvious target for terrorist attacks. It is the day of the year when everybody dress up to celebrate the National Day, and crowds of people will flock to observe the different processions which take place across the country.
- Ideally, I wish we didn't have to, but we have to deal with threats such as police are considering it, says Tromsø mayor Jens Johan Hjort.
He adds that he believes the police will deal with the armament on May 17 in an unobtrusive way.
- It is clear that it will seem unfamiliar, but I think most people believe that May 17 is a celebration of our kingdom and our well-functioning democracy, and that we see some guns on May 17th I do not think will be very important, he says.
Police historian Jon Torstein Kvikne think it's the first time that the processions will be guarded by armed police.
- I do not think the police have been armed on May 17 before, perhaps during WWII, he said.
Leader of 17 May Committee in Bergen, Arne Storetvedt, believe that armed police would not affect the mood on the National Day.
- Of course it is a sad development, but we have full confidence that the police will handle this, he says to VG.
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