Tensions are so high over much higher road tolls in the Stavanger area that local authorities feel compelled to call in police, to provide protection at public meetings. More noisy protests were being held this week.
Demonstrators turned their backs on an appeal from one local mayor, while the mayor of Stavanger claims the protests have turned far too ugly and threatening. Both she and several other elected officials and civil servants have received threats of injury, damage to their homes and even death since protests broke out in earnest earlier this month.
Odd Tveit Jørgensen of the Stavanger Police told state broadcaster NRK that “it shouldn’t be necessary” to send uniformed police to political meetings, “but we see that there’s a very crass tone now. There are angry folks who oppose road tolls.”
It’s the first time police have ever seen a need to provide security at meetings of elected officials. A new public opinion poll shows that fully 70 percent of the local population in Nord-Jæren oppose the new tolls that will raise commuting costs considerably and cost some households more than NOK 30,000 (USD 3,600) a year.