Norway to go ahead with massacre memorial despite opposition

A Norwegian court on Monday ruled against opponents of a national memorial to the victims of a 2011 massacre on Utøya island, saying its benefits outweighed the traumas it might revive.

Norway to go ahead with massacre memorial despite opposition

A number of residents near Utoya had argued that the memorial to the 77people who were killed by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, including 69 shot dead on the island, would prolong the trauma they suffered on July 22 nearly a decade ago.

They had filed suit with both the Norwegian state and Labour Party’s youth wing, the organisation to which most of the victims belonged, in a bid to have the memorial moved from its building site at a dock where people take the ferry to the island.

“The plaintiffs are obviously correct in that they unjustifiably will carry the weight of having a national memorial in their vicinity.

The court understands that this feels unreasonable,” ruled Ringerike District Court.

“This is however not the deciding factor. In the court’s view the considerations that argue in favour of establishing a memorial on Utoyakaia (Utoya dock) have a greater weight than the negative impact of the memorial for the plaintiffs,” it said.

A sign reading “Entrance forbidden” is seen at a construction site for a memorial to honour the 77 people who where killed on July 22, 2011 by Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik. AFP

‘Moral of the story’

In 2011, Breivik, disguised as a police officer, tracked and gunned down 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya, shortly after killing eight people in a bombing outside a government building in Oslo.

After an initial plan to build a different monument in another location failed, the authorities decided to erect a memorial of 77 bronze columns at Utoyakaia to permit the nation to pay tribute to the victims.

The plaintiffs, including some who had taken part in rescue efforts the day of the massacre and were traumatised, said they were “shocked and infinitely disappointed” at the court’s judgement.

Terje Lien, the closest neighbour to Utoyakaia, Norway, on January 5, 2021 points to the construction site. AFP

“The moral of the story is that if you, through no fault of your own, end up in a terror act or a situation with potential national and political interests, it’s best for you, as a civilian, to turn your back and mind your own health,” said a leader of the plaintiffs, Anne-Gry Ruud.

On the other hand, the Labour Party’s youth movement said it is “satisfied and relieved” about the decision.

“A national memorial on Utoyakaia means an awful lot to those who lost someone, survivors and relatives after July 22,” its secretary general Sindre Lyso said.

Already under construction, the memorial is set to be ready for the 10th anniversary of the massacre on July 22.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 
Oslo Operahus .Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Only one in ten Norwegians plan to travel abroad this summer 

Around ten percent of people in Norway are planning to take a holiday abroad this summer, according to a survey carried out by tourism organisation NHO Reiseliv.

Seven out of ten respondents said they still plan to holiday in Norway this year, even if they receive a vaccination before the holidays start.

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in a hotel quarantine in Norway 

Viken and Vestland are this year’s most popular travel destinations for Norwegians planning a “staycation”. Young people were the most likely to want to remain in Norway this summer. Just under half of those aged between 18 and 29 said they wished to stay in Norway this summer. 

Third of Utøya survivors have received abuse or threats

A third of Utøya survivors have been victims of hate speech or received threats, according to a new survey. 

Three-quarters of respondents said that the reason they received the abuse was linked directly to the Utøya terror attack, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Studies (NKVTS) found. 

The massacre on Utøya was the second of two terror attacks carried out by Anders Breivik on July 22nd, 2011. Of the 69 people who died in the attack, 32 were under the age of 18. 

Fewer in Oslo willing to ditch cars 

A climate survey carried out by the city of Oslo has shown that fewer people than before are willing to cut back on using their cars. The proportion of those who think that Oslo city centre should be car-free has fallen to 45 percent from 52 percent last year. 

READ ALSO: Could Norway introduce mandatory inbuilt car breathalysers 

When asked whether Oslo City Council had gone too far in removing cars from the city centre, almost half said that they believed that this was the case. 

“A change in the attitude around these measures may be due to more people feeling dependent on cars during the pandemic. There has been a lot of debate about measures that have been introduced or are planned to be introduced,” Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, told the Dagsavisen newspaper

Tighter Coronavirus measures in Trondheim 

Gyms, museums and swimming pools have been closed, and alcohol service in hospitality has been stopped in Trondheim. The new measures come barely a week after restrictions were last tightened. 

“We need to shut down most of Trondheim to get control. It is only days since we last tightened measures, but we are in a situation where we must take even stronger action,” Morten Wolden, the municipal director for Trondheim, told state broadcaster NRK.

Norway reports 292 new Covid-19 cases

On Monday, 292 new coronavirus infections were registered in Norway. This is a drop of 52 compared to the seven-day average of 344. 

In Oslo, 48 cases were recorded, an increase of two on the capital’s seven day average of 46. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected, will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases so far. Source: NIPH