The queer scene wanted to celebrate the first big Pride parade in Oslo since the beginning of the Corona pandemic. But then shots were fired. Two people are dead, many injured. Norway’s capital is in shock.
It should have been the start of a boisterous party weekend – but deadly gunshots have turned a popular gay bar in Oslo into a place of horror.
In the center of the Norwegian capital, a suspected lone gunman shot dead two people during the night. At least 21 others were injured, according to the police, ten of them seriously.
Terror alert level raised
Norway raised the national terror alert level to the highest level. The risk of a terrorist threat is “extraordinarily” high, said the Norwegian secret service PST on Saturday, as reported by the broadcaster NRK. Authorities chief Roger Berg said that the act, with two fatalities and at least 21 injuries, was viewed as an Islamist-motivated terrorist attack. Terrorism alert level five now applies. So far it was level three.
The nightclub “London Pub” – the main target of the attacks – is considered a popular meeting place for gays, lesbians and other members of the queer scene in Oslo. On its own website, the club describes itself as the city’s best “gay bar” and “gay headquarters since 1979”. Actually, many wanted to celebrate into the weekend there: Today, after cancellations due to the corona pandemic, a “Pride Parade” should have taken place in Oslo for the first time – it was canceled again.
perpetrators have previously committed a criminal offense
The “London Pub” was not the only crime scene – shots were also fired in other places in the party mile. During the night, the police arrested a suspect near the scene of the crime. Civilians who were present would have helped. Investigator Christian Hatlo told the Norwegian newspaper “VG” that the 42-year-old had previously committed a criminal offense. He was sentenced to several months in prison for drug offenses. During the night, the police searched his home. The investigators wanted to comment on the details in the afternoon.
The act caused horror in Norway. King Harald V (85) called on his countrymen to stand together. It is important to uphold common values such as freedom, diversity and respect for one another so that everyone can feel safe. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre expressed his condolences to the victims’ families after a “cruel and deeply shocking attack”. The social democrat assured the queer community: “We stand by your side.” Former Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said the freedom to love whoever you like has been attacked.
“Pride Parade” cancelled
The organizers of Oslo’s “Pride Parade”, who actually wanted to celebrate their 40th parade today, canceled the entire event on the advice of the police. “We will soon be proud and visible again,” said “Pride” boss Kristin Haugsevje. But now you want to stop and send love and good wishes to the relatives of the victims. Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen only reported on Friday evening how much the city was looking forward to the parade after years of the pandemic. Rain bean flags still lined the whole of Oslo on Saturday – not only restaurants and bars, but also embassies and official buildings.
On the eve of the planned spectacle, there had already been celebrations in many places in the city late into the night. Even just before midnight it was not quite dark on the June night. In the “London Pub” the exuberant mood turned to panic after the first shots were fired. An eyewitness told NRK that he fled inside and took as many people with him as possible.
In the morning there was a lot of barrier tape on the celebration mile in the center instead of “Pride” costumes. The police cordoned off the area around the “London Bar” on a large scale. The Norwegian secret service PST wrote on Twitter that there were no signs of further planned acts of violence.