Residents of the small town of Nesna in Nordland County, north-central Norway, say they were shocked to wake up Sunday morning to the sight of Nazi flags hung up on several public buildings.
TV2 reported that the flags were hung up on buildings including the local government offices, the harbour authority, a community hall and the Nesna elementary and junior high school. “I was on my home from work on a night shift and drove past the school,” local resident Heidi Johansen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was not a pleasant sight.”
Harry Mathiasen, leader of the local community hall, was also upset by the flag. “I was deeply saddened,” Mathiasen told NRK. “This shouldn’t happen in 2016.”
Nesna Mayor Hanne Davidsen said the flags must have been hung up sometime after 3am on Sunday, because until that time, police are on patrol in the area.
“This is of course deeply disturbing and I’m surprised that it would happen,” Davidsen told TV2. “We have never had any such episodes here before. We are a community with a diverse population, where folks get along well.”
She said the flag-hanging would be reported to police and attempts would be made to find out who was behind it. “We will have a meeting to find out what we should do further,” she told NRK.
Norway was under Nazi German occupation during World War II and police have already determined that the flags bearing swastikas that were hung around Nesna stem from that period.
Nesna’s sheriff, Hogne Rosø, told local newspaper Rana Blad that when he first heard about the flags, he thought they’d be new flags used by neo-Nazi organizations. After seeing the flags, though, he said they are old flags apparently saved from the war years.
Rosø characterized Nesna as a quiet community and said the flags stirred unease. An investigation was underway.