Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

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  • Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended a service to remember the victims of the attack.
  • The shooting occurred near the London Pub gay club in Oslo’s packed nightlife district.
  • Police say he had been on their radar for radicalization and membership of an Islamist extremist network.
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Norway paid tribute to the victims of a deadly shooting near a gay bar in the capital on Sunday, which shocked the normally peaceful country and forced the cancellation of a Pride march.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended a service to remember the victims of the attack, which included vases with rainbow flags on the altar of Oslo Cathedral.

Investigators are looking into the suspected gunman’s motivations after he opened fire in the early hours of Saturday, killing two people and injuring 21 others.

“Bullets cannot kill love,” the head of the Norwegian Protestant Church, Olav Fykse Tveit, said.

Read More: Attack in Norway being investigated as an act of Islamist terrorism, police say

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Noting that the Church had for years opposed equal rights for same-sex couples, he said: “We see that we can learn, sometimes in spite of ourselves, that diversity is a present, a richness, and that many homosexuals have a capacity for love that we are incapable of.”

“The shooting… put an end to the Pride march,” said a somber Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store. “But it has not put an end to the fight to end discrimination, prejudice and hate.”

The shooting occurred at around 1:00 am on Saturday (2300 GMT on Friday) near the London Pub gay club in Oslo’s packed nightlife district, where Pride parties were in full swing.

Two men in their 50s and 60s died. Twenty-one other people were wounded.

Police quickly arrested the suspect, whom they described as a 42-year-old Norwegian man of Iranian descent known to the nation’s security services. Norwegian media named him as Zaniar Matapour.

Domestic intelligence service PST said it was treating the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism”.

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The suspect “has a long history of violence and threats”, PST chief Roger Berg said.

He said the man had been on the PST’s radar “since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalisation” and membership of “an Islamist extremist network” and had “difficulties with his mental health.”

Police ordered the man to be placed under “judicial observation” to determine his mental state. He refused on Saturday to be questioned as to his motives.

When asked about the motives for the shooting, Borge Enoksen, a senior police official, told a press conference on Sunday that “It can be a combination of things. It’s too early to make a conclusion.”

On Saturday, the intelligence services raised the country’s threat level from moderate to “extraordinary”.

People, many in tears, laid flowers and rainbow flags at the police security cordon around the scene of the shooting.

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“Love is love — and it’s the same thing for everyone. Everyone has the right to live as they choose,” said chef Kristin Wenstad as she paid her respects.

Read More: Norway increases its interest rates by half a percentage point

The organisers of the LGBT Pride march, due to take place on Saturday afternoon, called it off on the advice of the police.

Thousands nonetheless marched spontaneously through Oslo on Saturday in a display of unity also seen at Pride marches across Europe.

“We’re here. We’re queer. We won’t disappear,” they chanted.

Footballer Ada Hegerberg waved a rainbow armband after scoring the first goal in the women’s national team match against New Zealand on Saturday evening.

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Several European leaders condemned the shooting and expressed sympathy.

“We all have the right to love and be loved,” tweeted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is Norwegian.

Saturday’s shooting occurred 11 years after right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 people in the country’s worst peacetime massacre, which shook the country to its core.

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