Ten years after the Breivik Massacre, Norway’s Prime Minister says it’s time to stand up against hatred.
Church bells rang out across Norway on Thursday as Norway’s prime minister urged for the country to unite against the hatred that prompted right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik to carry out catastrophic atrocities that killed 77 people a decade ago.
On the tenth anniversary of the attacks, Prime Minister Erna Solberg spoke to survivors and relatives of the victims, urging understanding and tolerance.
“We must not allow hatred to flourish unchecked,” Solberg said at a memorial event near the government headquarters in Oslo, where the first attack occurred.
Breivik detonated a bomb outside the building, killing eight people, before opening fire at a summer camp for left-wing adolescents on the island of Utoya, murdering 69 people, the most of them were teenagers.
Until the attacks on July 22, 2011, the worst in Norway’s postwar history, the Scandinavian nation had been relatively spared from extremist violence.
Much has been done in the last decade to improve security and prevent radicalization and extremism, according to Solberg.
“We have to develop the most crucial readiness within each of us,” she said, adding that it would act as a “fortified bulwark against prejudice and hate speech, for empathy and tolerance.”
Church bells rang out across the country just after noon (1000 GMT) in honor of the deaths.
The anniversary will be commemorated with a ceremony on Utoya itself in the afternoon.
Jens Stoltenberg, the then-Labour Party prime minister and current NATO head, promised to respond with “more democracy” and “more humanity” shortly after the assaults.
“We met hatred with love ten years ago,” Stoltenberg stated during a church commemoration service on Thursday.
“However, the animosity remains,” he added.
Vandals inscribed “Breivik was correct” on a memorial to Benjamin Hermansen, who was murdered by neo-Nazis in 2001 in what was dubbed Norway’s “first racist crime.”
Stoltenberg also mentioned Philip Manshaus’ attempted attack on a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo in 2019, in which he started fire before being subdued by worshippers, preventing any significant injuries.
Manshaus had just shot and killed his Asian-born stepsister for racist reasons just days before the attack.
Many Utoya survivors believe that ten years later, Norway has still not fully confronted the ideology that drove Breivik.
“Deadly bigotry and right-wing extremism are still alive and well in our midst,” said Astrid Eide Hoem, a survivor who went on to lead the Labour Party’s youth league (AUF), which organized the camp. Brief News from Washington Newsday.