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Campaigners put up banner of female Viking warrior warning organisers: ‘Act lest the gods should intervene!’

As the men of Shetland gathered in Lerwick early on Tuesday morning for the dramatic commencement of Up Helly Aa, Europe’s largest fire festival, they were greeted by an unexpected sight.

A banner depicting a female Viking warrior astride her horse hung down the stone pillar at the Market Cross in the town centre, with a direct challenge to the organisers of the exclusively male procession: “Have you forgotten those that bore you? Act lest the gods should intervene!”

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