Norwegians pay tribute to victims of 2011 far-right terrorist attacks

On July 22, 2011, far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo and opened fire at summer camp organized by the Workers Youth League in Utoya. A total of 77 people were killed in both the incidents

July 25, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Norway 2011 Attack
Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store paying tributes to the victims of the 2011 terrorist attacks. (Photo: via Facebook)

Progressive sections in Norway paid tributes to the victims of the far-right terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utoya on their 11th anniversary. On July 22, 2011, a far-right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, detonated a car bomb in Oslo and opened fire at a summer camp organized by the Workers Youth League (AUF) in Utoya. Around 69 people were killed at the Utoya camp alone. A total of 77 people were killed in both the incidents, making it the deadliest attack in the country since World War II.

On Friday, July 22, major political parties including the Labor Party, Red Party (Rodt), Socialist Left Party (SV), and Communist Party of Norway (NKP), as well as youth groups like the Workers Youth League (AUF), Rodt Ungdom, and Young Communists in Norway (UngKom), among others, paid tributes to the victims of the attacks and resolved to fight neo-Nazi activities and hate crimes in the country.

Breivik, a far-right sympathizer who described himself as a ‘Templar’ against Islam and Marxism, carried out the deadly attacks in Oslo and Utoya after a long period of panning. Following the attacks, left-wing sections in Norway had pointed out that Islamophobes like Breivik were not on the radar of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), as racism and Islamophobia had already become ‘a normal affair’ for the state and the mainstream political parties. The criminal trial of Breivik began in 2012 in Oslo. He was sentenced to confinement for approximately 21 years, the maximum penalty in Norway. 

Since the onset of imperialist wars in North Africa and West Asia in the last two decades, there has been a relentless flow of migrants and refugees to Europe. A section of these refugees have officially been given asylum by the European Union (EU) and are allowed to settle in Scandinavian countries including Norway. The influx of immigrants was opposed by far-right sections in Norway, resulting in a spike in Islamophobia and hate crimes across the country.  Not only Muslim immigrants, but pro-refugee, left-wing activists who resist racist crimes have also been subjected to far-right attacks. In 2019, a far-right terrorist opened fire in the Bærum mosque in Norway, evoking widespread protests from progressive sections. 

Meanwhile, radicalized fringe elements from the Muslim community have also been accused of perpetrating jihadist ideas and propaganda in the country, complementing the far-right neo-Nazi maneuvers to polarize the Norwegian civil society. 

This year on June 25, the scheduled date for Oslo Pride, in a deadly act of homophobic violence, a 42-year-old man opened fire at three locations in Oslo’s nightlife district, killing two people and seriously injuring at least 10 others. Thousands of Norwegians marched from Rozenkrants to London Pub in the city condemning the terrorist act. 

Paulius Eidukas from the Young Communists in Norway (Ungkom) told Peoples Dispatch that “from the gruesome terrorism that our young activists experienced in 2011 during the Utøya shooting to the terrorism experienced by the LGBTQ community today, such as the shooting that occurred a month ago in Oslo, we can see that nothing has been done by the neoliberal regime to prevent these threats. On the contrary, the far-right and their talking points are being increasingly normalized and protected throughout Norway”.

He has said that “when anti-Muslim groups hold their demonstrations, the Norwegian police go out of their way to secure the fascists’ right to spread their hate to the Norwegian society. On the other hand, police use massive resources, set up fences and protection in order to prevent anti-fascist demonstrators from countering the neo-Nazis”.

“Similarly, national news networks consistently interview people who work with fascist and neo-Nazi organizations, normalizing their positions in the name of “free speech”, as “just another view in the debate”, while at the same time hiding and silencing leftist voices, including those of our Young Communists and the Communist Party. This creates a favorable environment for far-right organizations to grow, and we can see that this is happening in Norway, with several such organizations being active within the country today,” he added.