Walpurgis celebrations marred by fights and fires

Walpurgis revelers braved the cold throughout Sweden on Thursday night, and police and rescue services were kept busy putting out fires and handling intoxicated people.

There was a larger number of fires and drunken incidents on Walpurgis night, when Swedes greet the arrival of Spring with singing and bonfires.

In the Stockholm county alone, 54 people were apprehended between 6 p.m. on Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday. Last year, a total 38 people were apprehended in the county, according to the Stockholm police.

A man was also stabbed to death in the town of Södertälje just south of Stockholm, though police said they the incident was probably not connected to the Walpurgis celebrations.

There were several fire accidents on Walpurgis night, too. In Ramshammar in the south-east, two barns and one cottage burned to the ground after locals lost control of their traditional Walpurgis bonfire. A total of eight houses in the area were at risk of catching fire, according to Swedish Radio’s P4 Södermanland station.

In Uppsala – a student town known for its extravagant Walpurgis celebrations – around 50 intoxicated people had been apprehended by 10 p.m., local newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning reported.

In the southern student town of Lund, police received reports of robberies, five assaults and around 100 alcohol-law breaches, newspaper Sydsvenskan reported. Still, the regional Skåne police said it was a relatively quiet night.

“Yes, one would have to label this a calm party and give the whole night a good mark considering 35,000 people were involved,” Stephan Söderholm of the Skåne police told Sydsvenskan.