LGBTQ+ community in Oslo holds rally days after horrific attack on queer venue

While Pride celebrations were cancelled due to police warnings for safety, an LGBTQ+ rally took place in Oslo in solidarity with the victims of the attack.

Photo from an LGBTQ+ rally held in Oslo after a terrorist targeted queer venues in the city.
Image: Via Twitter - @petshopboys

After a deadly attack was carried out in a queer venue in Oslo last Saturday, Pride protestors held an LGBTQ+ rally in the Norwegian capital, defying police requests that all Pride events be postponed for safety reasons.

On Saturday, June 25, the police in Oslo received multiple calls about a shooting that happened in the early hours of the morning in and around popular LGBTQ+ venues London Pub, Herr Nilsen jazz club and another location. Two people were killed and 21 wounded during the attack.

The police arrived at the scene minutes after it happened and apprehended the suspect, who is now held in custody and has been charged with terrorism, murder and attempted murder. As a consequence of the shooting, Oslo’s annual Pride parade that was scheduled to take place on Saturday (the same day when the Irish queer community gathered for Dublin Pride) was cancelled after recommendation by the police and the terror alert level in Norway being raised to the highest level.

In a joint statement published on Facebook, leader of Oslo Pride Inger Kristin Haugsevje and leader of the Association for Gender and Sexuality Diversity Inge Alexander Gjestvang said: “We will follow the police’s recommendations and take care of each other. Warm thoughts and love go to relatives, the injured and others affected.”

Despite this, the LGBTQ+ community and allies took to the streets to show support and solidarity with the victims of the horrific attack. Thousands marched in the capital chanting, “We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear!”

The law enforcement also asked that all other Pride events be cancelled because the gatherings may be targeted. However, the Norwegian LGBTQ+ community held a rally in Oslo on Monday, with thousands of people marching with colourful Pride flags outside the city hall and holding signs that read defiant messages like “you can’t cancel us” and “sexual freedom”.

“I feel much safer here than anywhere else right now,” said one of the protestors to the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. Another attendee commented that they were attending the LGBTQ+ rally in Oslo “to show that the fight is progressing.”

On Sunday, a memorial service was held in Oslo Cathedral to commemorate the victims of the shooting. Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre also attended the service and spoke about the resilience that the LGBTQ+ community had shown after the attack.

“During the day, the city was full of people who wanted to speak out, about sorrow and anger, but also about support and solidarity and the will to continue on fighting, for the right of every individual to live a free life, a safe life,” he said.

He added: “These misdeeds remind us of this. This fight is not over. It is not safe from dangers. But we are going to win it, together.”

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