[Ed. – The latest in our continuing series: Cultural Enrichment Watch.]
The small Swedish town of Östersund — population 44,300 — is presently living in a state of fear. Police have instructed women to not go outside alone at night following a spate of sex attacks, and police patrol in search of the perpetrators who have so far avoided capture.
There have now been 14 separate reports of sex attacks in the town, with victims ranging from grown women to 10-year-old girls. Police have refused to release details of the suspects they are seeking — as is usual in a country where police took the decision last year to combat racism by not discussing the ethnicities of crime suspects — but victims have described “foreign origin” attackers.
The danger is considered so great the symbolic act of turning the town’s municipal lights off for one hour is considered too much of a risk, and police have requested the event be cancelled. The final decision was taken in consultation with local officers on Tuesday, with Social Democrat spokesman for the local council Ann-Sofie Andersson remarking:
“Earth Hour is a good and important event, but this year we chose to have the street lights on in view of what has happened. We want everyone to feel safe”.