LGBT solidarity event in Oslo cancelled over police fears of copycat attacks

Organisers have cancelled an LGBT solidarity event planned for Monday night at Oslo City Hall after Norwegian police advised the public not to attend and requested that Pride events be called off nationwide over fears there could be copycat terror attacks.

Pictured are LGBT flags.
A solidarity event will be held at Oslo's town hall on Monday night. Pictured are LGBT flags. Photo by daniel james on Unsplash

Organisers have cancelled a Pride event outside Oslo City Hall on Monday night, following a recommendation from the police. 

“We are sorry that we once again have to come out with a message that a Pride celebration must once again be canceled”, Inger Kristin Haugsevje, head of Oslo Pride, said in the press release

The event had been scheduled to go ahead at 7:30pm and feature music, speeches and a minute of silence. Police, however, suggested the event be postponed and all Pride events across the country be put on hold. 

Police said that the decision to advise against the event was based on a recommendation from counter-terrorism and intelligence service PST. 

“PST considers that we are still in an extraordinary threat situation. A terrorist attack has been carried out, and there is an unresolved threat,” police director Benedicte Bjørnland said. 

PST said it was focused on preventing copycat attacks following three shootings in Oslo, one at the London Pub gay bar, in the early hours of Saturday, leaving two dead and 21 injured

“We fear a follow-up action. We have seen cases of this in other countries, and it is not unusual for some to be inspired or for more people to have the same way of thinking as has happened here, and who may consider committing a new terrorist act in Norway,” Roger Berg, temporary head of PST, told public broadcaster NRK

Oslo police had given the event the go-ahead on Sunday before changing their advice. 

“We have been in contact with the organiser before. Then it was a small event. Now it has developed into a very large celebration. We recommend it doesn’t go ahead,” Martin Strand from Oslo police told public broadcaster NRK on Monday afternoon before the organiser’s cancelled. 

“We can not guarantee the safety,” Strand added. 

Before it was announced that the event would be cancelled, police were still set to be present at Rådhusplassen should people turn up anyway. 

Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, asked the public to follow the police’s advice. 

“This afternoon, the police have come up with new advice and asked Oslo Pride to postpone their event at Rådhusplassen tonight. The municipality of Oslo takes note of this, and as a city councillor, I ask people to follow the police advice,” Johansen wrote in a Facebook post

READ MORE: Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

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Norwegian police to remain armed with advice to postpone Pride events dropped 

Norwegian police will continue to be armed following a mass shooting in Oslo, but the advice for Pride events nationwide to be postponed has been scrapped, the Police Directorate announced Wednesday. 

Norwegian police to remain armed with advice to postpone Pride events dropped 

Police in Norway will continue to be armed for the foreseeable future, the Norwegian Police Directorate announced yesterday. 

It was announced that police in Norway be armed following a mass shooting in Oslo, which left two dead and 21 injured last week

Yesterday, Norway’s domestic intelligence and counter-terrorism service, PST, lowered the terrorist threat level from extraordinary to high- the second-highest level. 

“The threat level in Norway has changed from extraordinary, to high, according to PST. The danger of follow-up actions or inspired attacks means that the police will continue to be temporarily armed,” the Police Directorate wrote on its website

The police said that PST had widened the threat picture from LGBT groups to other broader targets. 

“PST maintains that LGBTQI + is still included in the target picture, but also people and events that are perceived to offend Islam, religious gatherings and uniformed personnel from the police and defence,” the police said on its website. 

Police also dropped the advice that Pride and LGBT events across the country be postponed. The recommendation was implemented due to a fear of copycat attacks from PST. 

Decisions on whether it was safe for events to go ahead would be made by local authorities going forward. 

“A national recommendation to postpone Pride events expires. The police districts will themselves make risk assessments related to individual events and handling of large crowds based on the overall threat picture and local conditions,” police director Benedicte Bjørnland said.