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Devastating Oslo Shooting Strengthens Pride in the Community

By: Summer Chu

On Saturday, June 25th, a 42-year-old man entered three bars in Oslo, the capitol of Norway, a few of which were known as gay bars, and shot dead 2 people while injuring another 21 people. He was charged with murder, attempted murder, and Islamic terrorism, although it cannot be confirmed what his real motives were, terrorism or a hate crime.

Eyewitnesses to the crime said that the shooter, Zaniar Matapour, pulled the gun from his bag and started shooting, forcing the people in the bars to either throw themselves to the ground or flee. A few minutes later, he was taken down by the police and helpful bystanders, one of which stood on the gun while four other people attacked the shooter when he had lost grip on it. "My thought then was to run and stand on it, so that no one would come", the witness told NRK.

After the shooting occurred, thousands of people gathered outside the bar, and even more spilled out onto the streets nearby, protesting for gay rights, even as the police said to cancel all planned pride events for Norway’s annual pride festival in the wake of the shooting for what the police said was safety reasons. The National Police chief said that extremists consider LGBT people "the enemy,” but the protesters criticized the police's attempt to cancel pride events, saying that it was the police's job to protect people from extremists rather than to agree to their wishes.

A memorial was held in Oslo Cathedral and was attended by both the Prime Minister of Norway and the Royal Family. The Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, commented on the protests, saying that "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.”

The Norwegian Head of the Protestant Church, Olav Fykse Tveit, also recognized that while the church had historically been against the LGBTQ+ community for the past few years they have been in support of these people. He adds that, "We see that we can learn, sometimes in spite of ourselves, that diversity is a present, a richness, and that many homosexuals have a capacity for love that we are incapable of."

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