Why police in Norway have advised that Pride events be postponed 

Norwegian police have advised that Pride events around the country be postponed after the deadly shootings in Oslo and believe there is good reason to take the seemingly drastic measure. However, some parades and celebrations are still set to go ahead.

Pictured is a stock photo of a pride event.
Police in Norway have recommended that Pride events nationwide be postponed. Pictured is a stock photo of a pride celebration. Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

Norwegian police have advised that Pride and LGBT events in Norway be postponed following a shooting on Saturday near a gay bar in central Oslo that left two dead and 21 injured

The advice comes after the police suggested organisers of an LGBT solidarity event outside Oslo City Hall postpone until further notice. The recommendation came on the back of information it received from domestic intelligence and counter-terrorism service PST. 

“Based on the information from PST and that the LGBT environment is a target for extremist Islamists, the police’s clear recommendation is that tonight’s pride event in Oslo is postponed and other events elsewhere in the country also be postponed until further notice,” Benedicte Bjørland, police director at the National Police Directorate, told public broadcaster NRK

PST has said that it has concerns over the possibility of copycat attacks in the wake of last weekend’s shooting. 

“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

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

When asked by the broadcaster whether it had information relating to a specific threat, the intelligence service said it wasn’t willing to go into detail currently. 

“As of now, I will not go into detail on what information we have. We have a large supply of information now, and we have nothing to indicate that something will happen in the near future, but we see that we are constantly receiving new information that allows this to change,” Berg said. 

Following the shooting on Saturday, PST raised its terrorist threat level to five, which indicates an extraordinary threat situation. Before the shooting, the threat level was set to a “moderate terrorist threat”. 

When it raised the threat level on Saturday, PST said, “The information we have so far does not indicate such actions (copycat attacks)”. 

In Adger, police will assess the safety of events, focusing on LGBT ones, on Tuesday. In north Norway, police in Mo i Rana have recommended postponing a Pride event scheduled for Tuesday. 

Despite the heightened threat level and the advice to cancel Pride events, PST has said that it isn’t dangerous to be part of the LGBT community in Norway. 

“No, as a general rule, it is not (dangerous). We are a police force that will do everything to secure the safety of LGBT people in Norway, but we hypothesise that maybe the LGBT community was the target of the action (mass shooting on Saturday) we, unfortunately, saw,” Bjørnland told NRK on Tuesday. 

Events across Norway to go ahead despite police recommendations

Haugaland Pride will go ahead, against police recommendations, while Trondheim Pride will also hold a solidarity event

Organiser’s in Trondheim said they had been given the all-clear for the event in Trondheim to go ahead by local authorities.

“Here in Trondheim, we have been in a very tight dialogue with local police and the local security police here in Trondheim. They have told us that they have no knowledge of any actual local threat towards us in the Pride community in Trondheim,” Eivind Rindal from Trondheim Pride told The Local.

“They have recommended that we listen to their advice and not to the general advice (to postpone or hold off from events) from the Police Directorate, so we will go ahead as planned,” Rindal added.

Rindal said it was important for Pride and LGBT events to go ahead if it was safe to do so in light of Saturday’s mass shooting.

“It is very important that arrangements, pride parades and festivals all around Norway, especially this summer after the pandemic, go ahead and that the queer community isn’t pushed back into the closest,” Rindal said.

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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.