The theme for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge this week is: Culture. I choose to showcase these recent photos from a culture clash that took place in Oslo. The gypsies have illegally occupied a building called Borgen in Gamlebyen, Oslo. This building is going to be demolished because it’s in the way of a new train route. The owner of the building is the Norwegian State Railways and they needed help from the police to empty the building of its illegal occupants.
After being evicted the gypsies set up tents in the park «Middelalderparken» as a protest. Since it’s illegal to set up tents in parks, the police returned later that evening to evict the gypsies from the park. According to the gypsies spokesperson, Mihai Negrea, the gypsies have nowhere to go. Some Norwegian supporters from a left-wing group called «Folk er folk» (People are people) also showed up and shouted slogans such as “People are people” and “this is Norway 2013”. «Folk er folk» thinks that it’s the tax payers responsibility to pay for and accomodate the gypsies.
The gypsies culture of travelling, begging and busking is clashing with the modern culture of Norway, where people live in apartments, pay rent and work. The spokesperson, Mr. Negrea, said that the gypsies in this protest are willing to pay rent for a place to live so that they can be integrated into Norwegian society, but that the problem is that no one wants them around.
The police statements about crime and gypsies are about the gypsies as a group and not necessarily about the individuals in these photos: According to the police and other sources, many gypsies are thieves and criminals and they’re being criticized for pickpocketing, burglaries, littering and trafficking of drugs and humans (I don’t know how the gypsies on these photos make their living, but I’ve seen at least a couple of them beg on the streets downtown, but begging isn’t illegal in Norway.)
The local authorities have no solution for the gypsies, the government don’t know what to do, the police are being forced to chase them from place to place. This evening around 40 police officers came to evict the gypsies from the park. Already the gypsies are costing the tax payers lots of money. Last summer 2000 gypsies were sleeping in cars, vacant buildings and public parks in Oslo and this summer it is expected that the number of gypsies will reach an all time high.