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'Hate takes lives': Norway marks ninth anniversary of July 22nd attacks with socially distanced memorial

The Local Norway
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'Hate takes lives': Norway marks ninth anniversary of July 22nd attacks with socially distanced memorial
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, AUF leader Ina Libak, Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and Labour Party Jonas Gahr Støre carry flowers at Utøya. Photo: AFP

Today marks nine years since terror attacks on the island of Utøya and in Oslo claimed 77 lives.

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On July 22nd, 2011, neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik carried out the two attacks, first killing eight people by detonating a bomb at the foot of a government building in Oslo.

He then killed 69 others by opening fire at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utøya, with the teenagers trapped by the waters of the surrounding lake.

The attacks were the worst committed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Oslo’s Regjeringskvartalet was witness to a heavy silence on Wednesday as the names of each of the 77 victims were read out to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.

The fight against hate was a prominent feature in speeches given at the memorial, newspaper VG noted.

Ina Libak, leader of Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (the Workers’ Youth League, AUF), which was the target of the Utøya terror attack, said in her speech that “hate takes lives”.

“But we know that the best antidote to hate is love, hope and community,” said Libak, who was shot four times in the Utøya attack.

 

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Representatives from Norway’s government and political parties attended the memorial and stood with socially distanced gaps. Former prime minister and NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg, who was head of government at the time of the attack, was also present.

Stoltenberg said that it was important for Norway to continue to mark the date and honour those who lost their lives, the seriously injured and those who lost loved ones.

“But it is also important as a political underlining of values which were attacked on July 22nd. And it is still important to stand up for an open, democratic society,” Stoltenberg told NRK.

Current PM Erna Solberg said in her speech that Norwegians must “fight every day for the values which were targeted by the terrorist.”

“July 22nd reminds us that life can be endangered when hate is allowed to stand unchallenged.”

READ ALSO: Utøya memorial defaced with swastika on 2019 anniversary of attack

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