On Thursday, July 22, Norway will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in the country’s recent history.
On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people and injured more than 200 in a car bomb explosion in Oslo’s government quarter.
Then, wearing a makeshift police uniform, he boarded a ferry to Utoya Island, where members of the youth wing of the Labor Party (AUF) were at the annual summer camp.
Breivik opened fire on the participants, mostly teenagers, as a result of which 69 people died. The massacre lasted about an hour and a half until the arrival of the special forces.
Ahead of the anniversary Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven visited the island to pay tribute to the victims and meet with the survivors.
He was accompanied by Astrid Hoehm, leader of the AUF and survivor of the shootout, and Jonas Gahr Store, leader of the Norwegian Labor Party.
Each of them laid flowers at the site of the planned memorial to the victims of Utoya, the construction of which has not yet been completed. Hoem also showed Lofven the training center built after the tragedy.
Extremism warnings ahead of Utoya’s anniversary
Speaking at a press conference after the tour, Hoem said it was “difficult and strange” to recall the events of 10 years ago.
“At that time,” she said, “we lost our friends when they were 14, 15, 18 years old. But today we also lost the opportunity to recognize them as they would have been 24, 26, 28 years old. “
She added: “I think in the days after July 22 it was so important that we stood together that we talked about love conquering hate and that we talked about it as an attack on all of Norway.
“But … it was also a political attack on the AUF and the Labor Party. And we see that in recent years, both here in Norway and in the rest of Europe, right-wing extremism is on the rise. ”
Erna Solberg, Norway’s prime minister, said in a panel discussion on Wednesday that she believed July 22 was a “must” part of learning about racism and discrimination.
“If we can also get the teachers to be confident enough to talk about an issue that is so close to our society and so close in time,” she said, “I think we can have a lasting vaccine against extremism – and I hope that it would have such an effect. “
Memorial events planned throughout Norway
On Thursday, a series of local and national events are set to take place across the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the atrocity.
Politicians, members of the Norwegian royal family and family members of the victims will take part in a memorial ceremony at the government office complex in Oslo, during which the names of 69 victims will be read out.
There will also be a memorial service at the Oslo Cathedral and a flower-laying ceremony at the Lisningen memorial.
At 19:00 local time, the bells in Oslo City Hall will ring 77 times, after which Til undoubtedly (“Young”) will play the carillon.