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'I'll be bock': Defiance after giant straw goat goes up in flames in Sweden

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By Euronews  with AFP
A before and after combination picture of the beloved straw goat in Gavle, 163 kilometers north of Stockholm.
A before and after combination picture of the beloved straw goat in Gavle, 163 kilometers north of Stockholm.   -   Copyright  Pernilla Wahlman/TT via AP

Swedish police have arrested a man after a giant straw Christmas goat was burned down.

The large structure in the central city of Gävle was set on fire in the early hours of Friday, police said in a statement.

"Gävlebocken" -- billed as "the world's most famous straw goat" -- has featured in the city's Christmas celebrations since 1966.

The 13-metre-high goat usually appears in the centre of the city on the first Sunday of Advent, attracting tens of thousands of locals and onlookers during the holiday season.

But it has been perpetually targeted by arsonists, police say. 

It had survived every year since 2016 under closer security but was reportedly set alight at around 03:40 CET on Friday.

"Witnesses saw a man leaving the scene when the fire started," police stated.

"The man in his 40s who was arrested on suspicion of aggravated vandalism, and criminal damage, is now in custody," they added.

Following the fire, messages of support poured in on Gävlebocken's Twitter account.