Friday, April 28, 2006

In the middle of grating ginger for dinner, I was startled by shouting out in the courtyard. I dried my hands and walked into the dining room and looked down. There, sitting with their backs against the wall, were some 30 young men in orange jackets, sweatshirts and t-shirts, along with some 15 policemen pacing back and forth, occasionally brandishing a billyclub or asking one of the young men to stand up to be frisked.

I ran to the library to look outside to the front of the building, where traffic was stopped by a swarm of 30 policemen and several orange-shirted men being roughly escorted into two of the five police cars that were blocking the street.

Just as I was returning to the dining room windows, the phone rang.

"What's going on? I'm stuck in traffic on Odengatan and there are all these police outside your building!" a friend said, breathing hard into the phone.

I told her the hell if I knew, but that there were 30 guys in orange being held by the police in the courtyard. Wait, no, I told her, they've brought more guys in. It looks like about 50 guys.

An hour and a half later, after the last of the orange-shirted guys had been marched into a bus (where they would be brought to the edge of the suburbs out in the middle of nowhere and left to walk back into town, which would likely take a good hour, according to my friend the policeman), the drama was over.

It turns out the guys in the orange shirts were hooligans, although they were amazingly quiet for hooligans. At least that's as far as I could make out, there was nothing in the paper or on TV about it that I've seen, despite all the people taking photos. But someone told me they heard there'd been hooligans at St. Eriksplan, which isn't so far away.

What I want to know is, why did the police decide to herd them into our courtyard, huh?

The Swedish word for the day is lugn och ro. It means peace and quiet.

- by Francis S.

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