Norway’s annual “russ” season, during which graduating high school students engage in hard partying, is now in full swing after the Easter holidays. Police from Bærum in the south to Finnmark in the north had to deal with wild parties during the weekend, and a large gathering in Bergen that went completely out of control.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Sunday that seven people were arrested and three charged with assault on police officers after a patrol car was sent out to a party in a private home in Bergen Saturday night. Police were careful to note that the party was not among the organized events for russ (roughly pronounced “roose”) while others claimed it was held in connection with the launch of the russ season.
Police found between 60 and 70 youth in the house at Glasskaråsen in Bergen, and what they described as “complete chaos.” When the first police patrol on the scene asked to speak to the owner of the house, the mood grew “so aggressive,” according to police, that they had to withdraw. They returned shortly thereafter with as many as 10 patrol cars backing them up. They were met with young party guests who threw rocks, bottles and snowballs at the police, who had to ask neighbours who’d complained about all the noise to stay indoors.
2016 article: This year’s ‘russ’ the ‘worst ever’
“No one wanted to leave the party,” Kjersti Eidsnes, operations leader for the Vest Police District, told NRK. “The mood became especially heated.” She said the youth started attacking cars parked outside the house, including a police car. Fights broke out, and a policewoman who was knocked to the ground began being kicked by the rampaging party-goers where she was laying. Another police officer was bit in the finger by one of the party’s participants.
Police resorted to using pepper spray and arrested seven youth, both boys and girls. Three have been charged with assaulting police officers. Some were as young as 17. “We view this as being more serious than simply disturbing the peace,” police cief Morten Ørn told news bureau NTB. “The violence seemed to have been organized.”
Police were also busy Saturday night after complaints of noise from russ buses in Sandvika and around Eiksmarka in Bærum, just west of Oslo. Police in Telemark also received complaints of noise in Skien and Porsgrunn, where patrol cars were sent out to order the partying graduates to lower the volume on their vehicles’ stereo systems, clean up after themselves and move on. Two russ buses were ordered to leave a parking lot at the Liertoppen shopping center in Buskerud after also blasting their music too loud and for too long.
Several people were expelled from a russ event in Finnmark Saturday night, while police in Vestfold fined a man in his 30s NOK 2,550 (USD 300) for having driven a russ bus with too many people on board near Sandefjord.