Stockholm has generated controversy this week by banning a soup kitchen from operating in the city square on the grounds that the park might be become a “freakshow.”
According to The Local, Soup Kitchen Stockholm had operated at the square for two years. It was a monthly project that distributed food and served as a meeting place for Stockholm’s homeless. But now the organization’s permits have been denied.
“We always apply for a police permit and usually put up two or three tents where we give out free food. But now, all of a sudden, they have said no,” said Elin Jakobsson of Soup Kitchen Stockholm.
The Stockholm traffic office, which made the decision, had said it was concerned because “homelessness is often connected to assorted substance abuse and psychiatric illness.”
“In the view of the city it is not desirable to create meeting places for people with these specific problems in places frequented by the general public, especially in central city squares,” the ruling stated
The traffic office’s Per Landin made things worse in an interview, saying, “There is a risk of a freakshow. There is a risk that the place will be transformed into a zoo.”
Comparing the soup kitchen to a zoo, and by extension the homeless to animals, did not sit well with the soup kitchen’s supporters.
“Nazis can march freely and water is thrown on people begging, but to create a meeting place to challenge politicians and other people to actually do something is obviously very dangerous and terrible,” Jakobsson protested.