Horror on Oslo Pride day when gunman goes on deadly rampage at gay bar

Horror on Oslo Pride day when gunman goes on deadly rampage at gay bar
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  • Gunman kills two, wounds 21
  • Revelers hid in the basement of an Oslo bar
  • Official Pride parade canceled after tragedy
  • Terrorist Threat Assessment Raised to Highest Level
  • Rainbow pride ‘in black’, says government minister

OSLO, June 25 (Reuters) – Terrified revelers at a gay bar in Oslo hid in a basement and desperately called for loved ones as a gunman went on a rampage, killing two people and wounding 21 on the day the city he had to celebrate his annual party. Pride parade.

Authorities said the suspect, a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, was believed to be a radical Islamist with a history of mental illness known to intelligence services since 2015. read more

The suspect will undergo a psychiatric evaluation in the coming days as part of the investigation, police said.

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The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday and the victims were shot inside and outside the London Pub, a former center of Oslo’s LGBTQ scene, as well as in the surrounding streets and in another bar in the center of the Norwegian capital.

The deceased were two men between 50 and 60 years old, police said.

“Everything indicates that this was an attack by an Islamist extremist,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

“We don’t know (yet) if the queer community was the intended target, but we do know that they are a victim.”

Bili Blum-Jansen, who was at the London Pub, said he fled to the basement to escape the hail of bullets and hid there along with 80 to 100 other people.

“Many called their partners and relatives, it felt almost as if they were saying goodbye. Others helped to calm down those who were extremely terrified,” he told TV2.

“I had a little bit of a panic and thought if the shooter or shooters came, we would all be dead. There was no way out.”

Rainbow flags symbolizing the Pride community were prominently displayed in Oslo this week, but the parade planned for Saturday was canceled on the advice of police.

“Last night, the rainbow was dyed black,” said Anette Trettebergstuen, Norway’s minister for culture and equality and a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights.


As the official parade was cancelled, several thousand people staged a spontaneous march in central Oslo, waving rainbow flags and chanting in English: “We are here, we are queer, we will not disappear.”

Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and their youngest son Prince Sverre Magnus, 16, later joined the Prime Minister and other officials to place red and white roses near the London Pub.

“We must protect the right in Norway to love whoever we want,” Haakon told reporters.

The suspect was taken into custody minutes after embarking on the shooting spree, according to police, who said they believe he acted alone. Two weapons, including a fully automatic pistol, were recovered from the crime scene, they added.

The man refused to be questioned by police, his lawyer John Christian Elden told public broadcaster NRK.

Witnesses described the chaos that erupted inside and outside the London Pub, which has been open since 1979.

“A lot of people were crying and screaming, the injured were screaming, people were distraught and scared, very, very scared,” said Marcus Nybakken, 46, who had left the bar shortly before the shooting and returned later to help.

“My first thought was that Pride was the target, so that’s scary.”

Journalist Olav Roenneberg of broadcaster NRK said he was in the area at the time and saw a man arrive with a bag, pull out a gun and start shooting: “Then I saw windows breaking and I understood I had to take cover.”


European leaders condemned the shooting, as did the White House.

“I am shocked by the heinous attack on innocent people in Oslo,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

“No one should have to fear for their life or well-being simply because of who they are.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, writing in both French and Norwegian on his official Twitter account, expressed his condolences. “We are stronger against hate if we stand together,” he said.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the Biden administration had reached out to Norway to offer condolences and support.

“We are all horrified by the mass shooting in Oslo today against the LGBTQI+ community there and our hearts obviously go out to all the families of the victims, the people of Norway who are great allies and of course the LGBTQI community.” + community there and around the world,” she said.

Norwegian security authorities raised the country’s terrorist threat assessment to its highest level after the attack, which also injured 21 people, 10 of them seriously.

Police, who are normally unarmed, will carry weapons until further notice, he said.

Other major events in the capital went ahead as planned on Saturday, police and organizers said, including a large open-air music festival and a soccer match between the Norwegian and New Zealand women’s teams.

The shooting took place just months after Norway marked 50 years since abolishing a law criminalizing gay sex.

The Nordic nation of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries, though it has experienced hate-motivated shootings, including when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.

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Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo, additional reporting by Andrea Shalal aboard Air Force One, Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen, and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Edited by Pravin Char, Frank Jack Daniel, Peter Graff

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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