‘There is safety in being visible’: LGBT events in Norway go ahead despite police recommendation

Pride events in Norway are going ahead, officially or unofficially, despite police advice they be postponed following deadly shootings in Oslo. 

Pictured is a progress flag.
Several events in Norway have gone ahead despite police advice they be postponed. Pictured is a progress flag. Photo by Raphael Renter on Unsplash

Despite a national recommendation that LGBT solidarity events and celebrations be delayed, organisers are pressing on with plans to hold parades, festivals and gatherings in several cities across Norway. 

Police have issued the national advice after PST said that it feared the prospect of copycat attacks after shootings near a gay club and two other locations left two dead and 21 injured last weekend

READ MORE: Why police in Norway have advised that Pride events be postponed 

Following the advice, a solidarity event scheduled for Monday outside Oslo City Hall was cancelled hours before its start

However, people still showed up for the event anyway, which was going to be a solidarity event for the LGBT community following the shootings. 

“In Oslo, we saw that people in the queer community took to the streets, and that was despite the official advice from the police and the local heads of the LGBT community,” Eivind Rindal from Trondheim Pride told The Local.

“Common people in the community have realised that you can talk about safety, but in the long run, the safety is actually in being visible and having the opportunity to participate in Pride parades,” Rindal added. 

In Trondheim, a solidarity event for the LGBT community was held following the mass shooting in Oslo. 

There, it was decided the event could go ahead despite the national advice following talks with 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,” Rindal said. 

“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,” the organiser 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.

In Mo i Rana, north Norway, police have said that they would have been unable to guarantee that an event planned for Tuesday could safely go ahead. However, the organisers there decided to go ahead regardless. 

“We choose to carry out the event,” Margrethe Møllevik, from Mo i Rana Pride, told broadcaster TV2 on Tuesday before the event went ahead.  

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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.