Four Norwegian citizens out sightseeing in Northern Norway were arrested and face heavy fines after they were caught literally throwing rocks at Russia. Police in Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark called the rock-throwing over the Norwegian-Russian border a violation of national border laws.
Signs in several languages are posted all along the border that Norway shares with Russia, warning against several forms of offensive behaviour in the border area. It’s not allowed, for example, to throw objects of any kind across the border, which in some areas is just across a creek.
The offenses late Sunday took place just south of Grense Jacobelv, a scenic spot where the river separating Russia and Norway empties into the Barents Sea. It’s not far from the King Oscar II chapel, built in 1869 to symbolize peace between Russia and Norway, which was under Swedish rule at the time.
The four people arrested do not live in the area, reportedly are residents of Finland and were on a visit. NRK reported that they ranged in age from their teens to their mid-40s.
They claimed they weren’t aware of the law against any sort of offensive behaviour along the border, apparently never stopping to read the signs detailing regulations in the area that’s monitored by military border patrol guards and the police.
“After border patrol officers had held these people we drove out to investigate and question them,” Thomas Pettersen, operations leader for the Finnmark Police District, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He said the four “weren’t throwing the rocks at any specific target,” but were still held on Sunday evening for violating the law. Police said they had no real motive, and instead were apparently just keen to prove they were only a “stone’s throw” from Russia.
Two of the four have since admitted liability. They face fines or prison terms of up to three months. “Fines are the most common in these cases,” Pettersen told NRK and local newspaper Finnmarken.