After Corona, the queer scene in Oslo wanted to celebrate the first big Pride parade. But then a lone gunman shot dead two people and injured 21 others. Norway’s capital is shocked – and the police express a suspicion of terrorism.
Ahead of the Pride parade in Oslo, two people were killed and more than 20 others injured in the Norwegian capital. The shots were fired around one o’clock on Saturday night in front of a well-known gay bar, according to the police. A suspect was arrested, the police also investigated suspected terrorism. The parade planned for Saturday has been cancelled.
The shots were fired in the city center first in front of a jazz club, then in front of the neighboring gay club “London Pub” and near a snack bar. According to police, two people were killed and at least 21 others injured. Among them were ten seriously injured.
According to their own statements, police officers managed to overpower the suspected shooter around 20 minutes after the attacks began. Police chief Christian Hatlo said at a press conference on Saturday that he was a 42-year-old Norwegian of Iranian origin who was known to the domestic secret service responsible for countering terrorism. He was also known to the police for minor crimes.
The police chief spoke of a possible “hate crime” with reference to the full gay club. The arrested person is suspected of murder, attempted murder and “terrorist” attack, apparently the 42-year-old wanted to “spread terror”. According to the police chief, an automatic weapon and a handgun were confiscated at the scene.
Pride parade cancelled, police presence increased in Oslo
The Pride parade was planned for Saturday afternoon in Oslo. However, the organizers canceled it on the advice of the police. All other events related to the parade had also been canceled as a precaution, they said on Facebook.
“He seemed very sure of what he was aiming at,” said an eyewitness to the newspaper “Verdens Gang” about the perpetrator. Another witness told the newspaper that the man had fired an automatic weapon and that the crime scene looked “like a war zone”. Several people with head injuries were lying on the ground.
Heavily armed police officers secured the crime scene. At the same time, the police presence in the capital was increased. According to information from radio station NRK, investigators searched the suspect’s home. According to an NRK reporter who was at the scene at the time, the shooter had a bag with him, from which he pulled a gun and immediately began shooting.
A smartphone video published by “Verdens Gang” shows three police officers holding a man lying on the ground. According to police, civilians helped arrest the suspect and provide first aid to the injured.
Prime Minister and King appalled
Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Störe spoke of a “terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people”. “We don’t yet know the reasons for this horrible act, but to the homosexuals who are now in fear and grieving, I want to say that we all stand with you,” he wrote on Facebook. His government announced a press conference for 2 p.m.
King Harald was also “appalled”. Everyone must now come together “to defend our values: freedom, diversity and mutual respect,” he explained. Meanwhile, more and more flowers and small rainbow flags were placed near the sites of the attacks as a sign of solidarity.
Norway is considered a peaceful country. To this day, the country is still traumatized by the attacks by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo and on the island of Utöya, which killed a total of 77 people on July 22, 2011.