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Friday, September 17, 2021

This Greenland town has temporarily banned alcohol after ‘several spooky incidents’

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By Matthew Holroyd

Homes are illuminated after the sunset in Tasiilaq, Greenland.


Homes are illuminated after the sunset in Tasiilaq, Greenland.

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AP Photo/Felipe Dana, FILE

A town in eastern Greenland has issued a two-week alcohol ban after reporting several “spooky” incidents.

Authorities say the temporary ban on all alcohol sales in Tasiilaq was necessary after a sudden increase in violence.

In recent days, police in the town have reported fifteen domestic disturbances, two suicides, four suicide threats, and six other incidents of violence.

Local health officials also stated that they had run out of capacity to treat people for alcohol poisoning.

Authorities said that the “spooky incidents” have left their mark on Tasiilaq, a settlement of just under 2,000 people on Greenland’s eastern coast.

The regional authority in Sermersooq said that they had received a request from health officials to implement the two-week ban.

The mayor of Sermersooq municipality, Charlotte Ludvigsen, said in a statement that she supports the measure.

“This is a deeply unfortunate situation, and we naturally support a temporary ban to stop it,” Ludvigsen said.

“It really hurts to hear about the many personal tragedies that have occurred in a matter of days, so I have no doubt that this is the right decision.”

The request to stop the sale of alcohol was also backed by a united municipal council, despite previous opposition to the measure.

“In general, I don’t think anything positive comes out of taking responsibility away from citizens, but in this situation, I think a temporary ban is the right solution,” Ludvigsen stated.

The ban on alcohol sales is expected to last until September 17, if there there is a decline in alcohol-related incidents.

Greenland has also introduced a series of social initiatives in Tasiilaq to reduce recurring incidents of violence and alcohol abuse.

The town has recently opened a family treatment centre and a youth centre, but mayor Ludvigsen has admitted that more needs to be done.

“In the long run, I have asked the administration for a comprehensive plan for Tasiilaq to address the social problems,” Ludvigsen stated.

“I have also asked for many more alcohol-free activities in the next fortnight for people to gather around, such as concerts or orienteering.”

“I think it is important that we do everything we can to pick up the people who have been affected.”

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