Norway mourns 77 dead ten years after extremist attack

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Commemorations began on Thursday to mark 10 years of Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.

On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Breivik detonated a bomb in the capital, Oslo, killing eight people, before heading to the small island of Utoya where he tracked down and killed 69 members, most of them teenagers, from the youth wing of the Labor Party.

Events will take place across the country on Thursday, including a service in Oslo Cathedral that will end with bells ringing in churches across Norway.

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Across the country, people listened to emotional survivors read aloud the names of the 77 victims at a memorial event broadcast on television.

AUF Norway Youth Political League leader Astrid Hoem, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Norwegian Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Store laid floral tributes at the memorial on Utoya Island on Wednesday July 21, 2021 (Beate Oma Dahle / NTB via AP)
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AUF Norway Youth Political League leader Astrid Hoem, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Norwegian Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Store laid floral tributes at the memorial on Utoya Island on Wednesday July 21, 2021 (Beate Oma Dahle / NTB via AP)

Some relatives of the victims reflected on how the country faced the massacre and said “time does not heal all wounds”.

“(The victims) would be proud of the way we reacted after the terror and the strength of the rule of law,” said Lisbeth Roeyneland, whose daughter Synne was murdered by Breivik. Roeyneland now heads the national victim and family support group.

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Astrid Hoem, a survivor of Utoya, who now leads the Young Labor Party, said “we have not stopped the hatred” and urged the country to continue to face racism in the country.

She was speaking to a group of mourners, including Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, survivors and families of the victims.

Solberg said it hurt to rethink “that dark July day” and added “we must not leave the hatred unchallenged”.

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King Harald is expected to speak at a commemoration in Oslo on Thursday evening. He will be joined by former and current prime ministers and leaders of the Labor Youth. Events will also take place on Utoya.

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