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Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised

A memorial to a teenage boy murdered in a racist attack was on Tuesday vandalised with the message 'Brevik was right', two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks in Norway.

Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised
Police tape. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen/Flickr

Police in Oslo have launched an investigation after the memorial to Benjamin Hermansen, who was murdered by three members of the neo-Nazi group The Boot Boys in a racially motivated attack in 2001, was found to have been vandalised. 

The statue of Hermansen, who was 15 when he was killed, was vandalised with the message “Brevik was right”, a reference to the July 22nd terror attacks carried out by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. 

The vandalism was discovered by Johannes Dvorak Lagos in Holmlia, Oslo, while on a walk near his home at midday Tuesday. 

Lagos posted a picture of the vandalism to Twitter, describing it as “reprehensible”. 

The graffiti was discovered two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks, in which 77 people were killed. 

Brevik carried out two separate attacks on July 22nd, a bomb in Oslo aimed at killing then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and a mass shooting at the AUF youth camp on Utøya island. 

Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Labour Leader Jonas Gahr Støre have both condemned the incident. 

“It is absolutely awful to see that the Benjamin Hermansen memorial at Homlia has been vandalised just before July 22nd. It makes me sad and furious, and this shows how important it is that we stand up to racism and hate speech every single day,” Solberg said in a tweet

“Benjamin’s memorial has been vandalised with references to the July 22nd terrorist. On the same day as the Eid celebrations begin. It’s reprehensible, and it shows that dangerous attitudes still circulate among us. The police have to take this seriously, and together we have to speak out and oppose this type of behaviour,” Labour Leader Støre wrote on Twitter

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime in addition to vandalism, police said. 

“The Oslo Police district is taking the case very seriously, and an investigation has been established. The investigation will also include the penal provisions for hate crime,” law enforcement said in a statement. 

Raymond Johansen, Oslo’s executive mayor, said that right-wing extremism needs to be addressed. 

“The person or persons who have done this have the same mindset as the neo-Nazis who killed Benjamin and the attitudes behind July 22nd. This shows that there is a need to discuss these attitudes,” Johansen told newspaper VG

The graffiti was removed by 1:30 pm on Tuesday. 

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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

Oslo to hold press conference on Covid measures 

Oslo City Council will hold a press conference at 5pm on Tuesday. 

The city council is expected to announce when the next round of easing measures in the capital will be introduced. 

Last week, current coronavirus measures were extended until June 18th following a sharp rise in cases. 

READ MORE: Oslo extends coronavirus measures after cases rise by 87 percent 

Cases rose by 87 percent two weeks ago but have been falling since. 

Further easing of measures would mean the city initiates step three of its five-step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions. 

The Norwegian capital previously adopted a phased approach to the second step of its roadmap to lift infection control measures. 

Measures at step three include allowing more guests in the home and longer alcohol serving hours for hospitality. 

We will have the details covered for you in an article later.

Norway sets racism-free target 

Norway’s culture minister, Abid Raja, has set the ambitious target of making Norway the first country in the world free from racism. 

“I would like to launch a new major political goal for Norway: Become the first country in the world to get rid of racism,” Raja told newspaper VG.

The target comes after, in recent weeks, many Norwegians from Asian backgrounds have come forward with stories about the prejudices they have faced. 

“We are the world’s foremost country in so many incredible ways. Norway is the world’s second most equal country. We are the world’s best country for journalists. We are in the top 5-6 top countries in the world for LGBTIQ people. We have a zero vision of death in traffic and a zero vision for suicide. It does not make sense that we don’t have the goal of being racism-free as well,” Raja told the paper. 

Damming report on state of air ambulance service in the north 

A new report has slammed the state of the air ambulance service in northern Norway. 

The report was conducted by Norway’s health watchdog, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision, and was critical of the state of Norway’s air ambulance service. 

“The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has concluded that the regional health authorities have not provided sound and coordinated ambulance flight services for patients in northern Norway in need of immediate help,” the report outlined. 

Due to sparse populations and long distances between hospitals in northern Norway, many patients are dependent on air ambulances to get them to hospital. 

The Norwegian Board of Health’s review found that in 13 out of 20 cases, it took air ambulance services more than 60 minutes to take off after being notified. 

“These are important and serious finding that I will ask the health regions to address,” Health Minister Bent Høie told state broadcaster NRK

195 new Covid cases 

On Monday, 195 coronavirus cases were registered across Norway, 14 more than the seven-day average of 181. 

In Oslo, 27 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, 15 less than the seven-day average for infections in the capital.

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.9. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another nine people, indicating that the infection level is declining.

Total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway. Source: NIPH
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