Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre warned against increasing hate speech and hateful messages at a commemoration event in Oslo on Saturday. We’ve seen more of that in public and on the internet since 2011, he said. It is good to come together to remember, never to forget and never to be silent.
On the fringes of the event, former Norwegian Prime Minister and current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the importance of commemorating July 22, 2011 in order to promote the fight against extremism. For him personally, the day of remembrance is important, among other things, because employees in his office were killed at the time, and the attack on Utøya was aimed at his social democratic party and its youth organization UP, Stoltenberg told radio station NRK. “As a former prime minister, party leader and fellow human being, July 22 will always be a part of my life.”
Right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo’s government district on July 22, 2011, killing eight people. He then went to the island of Utøya, where he massacred a summer camp run by the youth organization of the Social Democratic Labor Party. 69 people died on Utøya that day. Stoltenberg was Prime Minister of Norway at the time. Three years later – in 2014 – he became NATO Secretary General.
The terrorist attacks represent the worst acts of violence in Norway’s post-war history. The anniversary traditionally begins with a memorial event in the government district of the capital Oslo. After that there was another service in Oslo Cathedral before another commemoration was to take place on Utøya itself in the afternoon.
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