Norway: Pride protesters hold LGBT rally in Oslo despite warning

Thousands attend a memorial service after the terrorist attack on Saturday

Thousands of people gathered in the Norwegian capital despite police warnings (Image: Getty)

Thousands of Pride protesters gathered for an LGBTQ+ rally in Oslo days after two people were killed in a mass shooting outside a gay bar.

The protesters resisted calls from Norwegian police to cancel the event, fearing a repeat attack.

They held up signs reading “You Can’t Cancel Us” and “Sexual Freedom” to remind the capital that Pride is not a party, it’s a protest.

More than 20 people were injured on Saturday after a gunman opened fire in what was described as an “Islamist act of terrorism” in Oslo’s nightlife district.

Witnesses said the attacker pulled a gun from his pocket and fired at three locations.

“At first I thought it was an air rifle,” said journalist Olav Roenneberg.

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“Then the glass in the bar next door shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”

Zaniar Matapour was arrested minutes after the shooting and held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism.

The 43-year-old Norwegian citizen, originally from Iran, has not provided investigators with an explanation.

Prosecutor Ingvild Myrold ​​said they had “many hypotheses” as to a motive, despite police trying unsuccessfully to question the suspect for three days.

“We’re looking at his mental health, his political motives and background, and possibly who else he was in contact with before this happened,” she told the Associated Press.

Thousands attend a memorial service after the terrorist attack on Saturday

Thousands attended a memorial service after Saturday’s attack (Image: EPA)

People brought rainbow flags and flowers in front of City Hall

People brought rainbow flags and flowers in front of Oslo City Hall (Image: Getty)

Mourners comfort each other as they stand at the scene of the crime

Mourners comforted each other as they stood at the scene (Image: AP)


Attendees cheered during speeches at the impromptu Pride event (Image: Pride)

“We’re not ruling anything out. But now the charge is a pure terrorism incident.’

After the attack, tributes have arrived from people across Europe.

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell tweeted in response: “This is why we still need Pride.

“Sincere condolences to the victims and families of those murdered in Oslo. The price of queer freedom is eternal vigilance!’

Police yesterday asked for all Pride events to be postponed indefinitely as they remained a target.

“We know this can be big and while we have such an unresolved threat landscape we cannot recommend it [the march] implemented,” said Oslo Police Chief Martin Strand.

After the attack, the Norwegian Security Agency increased the threat scale from moderate to the highest level.

They said the move “means there has been a terrorist attack and there is an unresolved situation.”

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Justin Scacco

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