Norway has paid tribute to the victims of the attack on a gay pub in the center of Oslo, which occurred early on Saturday. A mass was held this Sunday in Oslo Cathedral in honor of the two deceased and the 21 injured in the shooting. The altar of the Protestant temple was decorated for the occasion with rainbow flags. “Oslo is in mourning and the whole country is shocked by the attack, which has particularly hit homosexuals who had gathered to celebrate Pride,” the church said in a statement. “Bullets cannot kill love”, added the president of the Episcopal Conference of the Church of Norway, Olav Fykse Tveit.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit was present at the tribute ceremony, although without her husband, Prince Haakon, who is sick with covid-19. Also, the country’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre. “This fight is not over. It is not without danger, but we are going to win it together”, said the politician who, in addition, has encouraged the population to speak out against hatred and defend a diverse society. “The shooting has cut short the Pride parade, but it will not be able to stop the fight to end discrimination, prejudice and hate,” he added.
The Norwegian capital hosted the LGTBIQ+ Pride this Saturday, however, after the shooting, the authorities canceled the event, which returned to the streets of the capital after three years of absence due to the pandemic. “Pride is going to be celebrated,” said the mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, who spoke of a postponement of the event. Despite the cancellation of the march – which aroused criticism from part of the group considering that it was thus giving in to the attacker’s desire to intimidate – thousands of people took to the streets to show their rejection of terror and their solidarity with the victims and their families. The gestures of affection have crossed the country, although they have been concentrated in the capital, which has been filled with rainbow flags and bouquets of flowers.
The attack occurred around 1 a.m. on Saturday around the London Pub, a landmark of the LGBTIQ+ community since the 1970s. The Nordic country, which is not part of the EU, but is part of the European Economic Area or NATO, has been shocked. According to the Oslo police, the perpetrator of the shooting is a 42-year-old Norwegian of Iranian origin, identified by local media as Zaniar Matapour. The Norwegian intelligence services also indicated that the man had been under his radar since 2015 because signs of radicalization had been observed and his membership in an extremist Islamist network had been confirmed. The suspect could have a “fragile state of mental health”, according to the authorities. Despite those indications, police have yet to define the attack as a hate crime. An Oslo police officer spoke of “a combination” of religious extremism, hatred of the LGBTI community and ideology.
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