Norway announced on Friday that all restrictions related to the pandemic would be lifted as of Saturday. As people gathered on the streets to celebrate, at least 50 brawls or unrest broke out throughout the evening, according to the Associated Press.
Norwegian media said police were called to respond to various incidents, including a man with a machete on a bus in Oslo, the AP reported.
The announcement of the lifting of restrictions by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg was largely unexpected.
“It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Solberg told a press conference on Friday, the PA reported. “Now the time has come to get back to normal everyday life. “
Despite criticism of the decision, Solberg said Norwegian health experts were not opposing his decision, according to the AP.
The rapid turnaround gave places like nightclubs little time to prepare for the crowds.
“This is exactly what I predicted,” nightclub manager Johan Hoeeg Haanes told a Norwegian newspaper, according to the AP. “It was a potentially life-threatening situation in the city because they (the government) didn’t give us at least a few days’ notice. It was a dangerous situation, as police said all places were crowded. “
Bars, nightclubs and other venues did not require proof of a vaccine or negative test result, according to the AP.
The AP noted that more than 76 percent of Norwegians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 70 percent have received both doses.