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Honoring Pride victims amid new dangers

Sunday marked the solemn one-year anniversary of last year’s assault on Oslo Pride, an annual celebration of gender diversity. As this year’s Pride festivities begin, police have reported new threats and a sharp increase in hate crimes against the Pride movement, but have exhorted Norwegians to participate and march in next weekend’s massive parade.

At a press briefing last week, Beate Gangs, director of Norway’s police intelligence unit PST, stated, “There will be more police on the streets than ever before.” There are numerous individuals who are exerting great effort to ensure event safety. The PST’s response to the terror threat last year was criticized, but the government has since responded and promised enhancements.

In June of last year, a man opened fire on a street outside of two homosexual bars in downtown Oslo, leaving two men dead, more than a dozen injured, and dozens of others traumatized. The assault forced the postponement of last year’s Pride Parade, despite the rapid formation of an impromptu parade in response to the attacks.

The gunman arrested at the scene is still in police custody, but he has refused to answer their inquiries. He is believed to have been encouraged by the Norwegian Islamist Arfan Bhatti, who has been arrested in Pakistan but refuses extradition to Norway.

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Memorial ceremonies

Sunday’s memorial service for the victims of the Pride murder was attended by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stre, Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen, and the President of the Norwegian Parliament, Masud Gharahkhani. On Sunday, additional flower ceremonies, speeches, and concerts were held to promote solidarity in the fight against intolerance and hostility.

The gay and homosexual police officers who have traditionally marched in Norway’s annual Pride parades will not be in uniform this year. Last month, the state police directorate determined that there should be a distinction between on-duty and off-duty personnel at forthcoming Pride events.

Police officials emphasized that police stations and offices will fly the rainbow flags of the Pride movement and encourage those off duty to participate in Pride parades across the country. The directorate’s Tone Vangen stated, “We wish to be welcoming and open.”

PST is concurrently confronting a tenfold increase in tangible threats against Pride events. Even a recent threat made by a minor against an elementary school in Vads, Northern Norway, over how it teaches the merits of diversity and inclusion was included.

Pride flags have been torn down or burned, and in Oslo, a motorcyclist left skid marks on the rainbow colors painted on the street where the mass massacre occurred last year. Openly homosexual couples have been harassed or threatened in other instances.

Intolerance offenses tripled.

The newspaper Klassekampen reported just before the weekend that sexual orientation-related hate crimes tripled last year. Inge Alexander Gjestvang, the leader of the organization Fri, told Klassekampen, “The increase in support for gender diversity has unfortunately led to a rise in opposition.”

This is evident in online comment sections and in the form of threats, violence, and vandalism against private and public buildings flying the rainbow flag.


There have also been instances in which homosexual couples who express affection for one another have been harassed or threatened.

Gangs stated last week that there are currently numerous threats but that the overall threat level is moderate.

Despite this, she urges individuals to disclose any threats they encounter at pride events. “We are diligently working on all tips, reports, and threats that we discover on our own,” she said. “We rely on individuals to report any violations.”



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