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Home* News and Stories → Pro­test against govern­ment poli­tics: torch­light pro­ces­si­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Pro­test against govern­ment poli­tics: torch­light pro­ces­si­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The Sval­bard poli­cy of the govern­ment in Oslo curr­ent­ly frus­tra­tes a lot of peo­p­le, both Spits­ber­gen locals, Lon­gye­ar­by­en poli­ti­ci­ans and con­cer­ned indus­try sec­tors. Epi­cen­tres of the cur­rent frus­tra­ti­on are the poten­ti­al clo­sing of lar­ge parts of the Spits­ber­gen archi­pe­la­go and the threa­tening with­dra­wal of the right to vote on a com­mu­ni­ty level (! not natio­nal) for non-Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens living in Lon­gye­ar­by­en (see lin­ked artic­les for fur­ther details on the­se issues).

The­se pro­po­sals have both been made by the govern­ment in Oslo. As of now, final decis­i­ons have not been made yet.

And both pro­po­sals were made by the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment wit­hout invol­ving local poli­ti­ci­ans or the peo­p­le living in Spits­ber­gen or indus­tries working the­re. The­re is the public hea­ring, but that is quite late in the day to invol­ve the local coun­cil. And based on expe­ri­ence from recent hea­rings, trust that the input given into such pro­ces­ses will actual­ly be heard is rather limi­t­ed, to put it mild­ly.


Lon­gye­ar­by­en: many peo­p­le living here are curr­ent­ly sho­cked about poli­ti­cal pro­po­sals coming from Oslo. If the sun is poli­ti­cal­ly going up or down over this beau­tiful place is a ques­ti­on that remains to be ans­we­red by natio­nal poli­ti­ci­ans soon.

Many peo­p­le who live in Lon­gye­ar­by­en or who other­wi­se have a strong con­nec­tion to Sval­bard are now fed up with this way to rule the place. The is “NOK er NOK” (“enough is enough”). Local groups and orga­ni­sa­ti­ons have now cal­led on the local public to join a torch­light pro­ces­si­on today (Tues­day, 16 novem­ber) in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Poli­ti­ci­ans, locals, orga­ni­sa­ti­ons and com­pa­nies in and con­nec­ted with Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Sval­bard want to be heard and invol­ved when it comes to decis­i­ons that may well deci­de over their future. The demand is that both poli­ti­cal pro­po­sals, regar­ding both the clo­sing of lar­ge parts of the archi­pe­la­go and the idea to depri­ve non-Nor­we­gi­an locals of their voting rights, dis­ap­pear from the poli­ti­cal agen­da in Oslo.

Orga­ni­sa­ti­ons that cal­led on the public to join their pro­test include Sval­bard nærings­fo­rening (an orga­ni­sa­ti­on of local indus­tries and com­pa­nies), AECO (an orga­ni­sa­ti­on repre­sen­ting the expe­di­ti­on crui­se ope­ra­tors), Lon­gye­ar­by­en jeger- og fis­ker­fo­rening (club of local hun­ters and fishers), To-tak­te­ren (club for snow mobi­le and boat enthu­si­asts), Sval­bard Turn (local sports club with a lar­ge num­ber of out­door enthu­si­asts among­st the mem­bers) and the Sval­bard Gui­de Asso­cia­ti­on. Altog­e­ther, the­se orga­ni­sa­ti­ons repre­sent an impres­si­ve num­ber of peo­p­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but also else­whe­re.

Due to the wea­ther, today’s pro­test may turn out to be a head­lamp pro­ces­si­on rather than a torch­light pro­ces­si­ons.

Longyearbyen fakkeltog

Today’s torch­light pro­ces­si­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Pho­to © Fran­ka Lei­te­rer.



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last modification: 2021-11-16 · copyright: Rolf Stange