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Covid-19: Swedish city to spread tonne of chicken manure to stop revellers gathering in park

Today’s Walpurgis Eve celebrations usually sees people gather and drink beer.

The festival is not an official event so can't be banned outright.
The festival is not an official event so can't be banned outright.
Image: Shutterstock/RPBaiao

THE SWEDISH UNIVERSITY town of Lund will spread foul-smelling chicken fertiliser in its main park this week to deter revellers holding spring celebrations as part of efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

City officials have asked residents to skip the traditional Walpurgis Eve celebrations today, known in Sweden as Valborg, and plan to fence off the Lund city park.

But they told AFP they would also go a step further and take the opportunity to spread one tonne of chicken droppings in the park.

While giving the lawns a welcome dose of nutrition, they also hope it will keep at bay those who would otherwise be tempted to defy the coronavirus restrictions.

“Well, chicken manure simply smells awful,” Gustav Lundblad, chairman of the city’s environment board, told AFP.

“It’s not very pleasant to sit around drinking beer in that smell,” Lundblad added.

The local Sydsvenskan newspaper says that up to a tonne of the faeces could be spread as part of the plan. 

The park is a popular gathering spot for afternoon and early evening picnics on 30 April before the traditional bonfires later in the evening.

Since the festivities — which can attract up to 30,000 visitors — are “spontaneous”, the city cannot outright ban them but given the coronavirus outbreak, Lundblad said the city strongly wanted to avoid them.

Lund is home to one of Sweden’s largest universities and many of the municipality’s some 125,000 inhabitants are students.

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