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"The flagstaff is full for March. I have my name-day, and both I and our grandchildren have birthdays."
Torbjrn Nilsson, after having lost the flag war in Gustavsberg.

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"Domstol stoppar svenska flaggan"
Aftonbladet 2006-02-10

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Stockholms tingsrtt
Miljdomstolen, avdelning 9
Dom 2006-02-02 (M165-03)

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Hard Rain    No 13    February 11, 2006
Sweden is a fantastic country!
Where else could it be forbidden to hoist the nation's flag? But in Gustavsberg, Sweden, citizen Torbjrn Nilsson is not allowed to fly his flag as much as he wants. A recent decision by the Environmental Court must be appealed!
 
Flags can shock and touch. It has always been that way. Right now we experience one of the biggest flag festivals, the Olympic Games in Torino. The flags of 80 nations in a colorful opening scene, accompanied by Luciano Pavarotti singing "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot.

But there are contrasting pictures. Only a few days ago the Danish flag was burned in several countries after an unprecedented provocation against the Muslim world in a daily newspaper. The limits of freedom of speech are tested in a vulnerable world.

In Sweden, like in other countries, we hoist the flag on official flag days. One could say that it is compulsory. We also like to fly the flag when there is a birthday in the family, a wedding day to celebrate etc.



  Then the authorities strike! Torbjrn and Sylvia Nilsson in Gustavsberg are not allowed to flag as they like anymore. The county administration and the Environmental Court have decided that their flag is an environmental threat.

After complaints by neighbors the issue has been pondered over by the authorities for almost four years. The acts contain some colorful descriptions of the problem caused by the flagging: "strongly irritating and stressing moving artificial shadow formations in the house, on the porch and in the garden".

The court decision is quite a shock for the Nilsson family. No flags on the staff with the exception of official flag days and family celebrations, but not more than five days a month. The penalty for breaking these rule is a fine of 1 000 .

Torbjrn Nilsson doesn't know what to do on March 12, the official name day of Crownprincess Viktoria. His flag quota for the month of March is already filled. But to pay a fine of 1 000 is probably to ask a little too much from citizen Nilsson.

The web poster Hard Rain stands up for freedom of speech and "freedom of hoisting the flag". An appeal of the decision (before February 23!) to the Supreme Environmental Court is definitely important.