Norwegian royals remember victims of Oslo terror attack on gay bar before city’s Pride parade
Norway’s royal family and senior officials gathered to remember the two people killed in an apparent terrorist attack on a gay bar in Oslo this weekend.
Zaniar Matapour, 42, has been charged with terror offences after opening fire at the city centre LGBT+ haunt London Pub in the early hours on Saturday morning.
More than 20 people were injured, with ten seriously wounded in the gunfire.
Matapour was arrested at the scene with the help of clubgoers at around 1.15am.
Shortly before midday local time, leading politicians including Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre attended a service at Oslo Cathedral.
Also present was Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Her husband, Crown Prince Haakon, missed the service with Covid.
King Harald, 82, also did not attend the memorial, but said yesterday that he was ‘horrified’ by the attack.
The monarch added: ‘We must stand together to [defend] freedom, diversity and respect for each other.’
Domprost Anne-May Grarsaas led the service this morning at Oslo Cathedral in front of LGBT flags and decorations
Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended today’s service without her Covid-stricken husband, who visited the site yesterday
Crown Princess Mette-Marit (centre, in navy) was pictured entering the service before midday with Church of Norway leaders
One mourner struggled to contain his emotions at the decorated scene of the crime yesterday, where many people gathered
The cathedral was decorated in solidarity with LGBT+ Norwegians. The Crown Princess sat on the front row
Crown Prince Haakon (centre) was unable to attend today’s service after testing positive for Covid. He is pictured between Crown Princess Mette-Marit (left) and the prime minister (right)
Matapour is an ex-plumber with severe mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia and PTSD.
He was investigated by the state security services as a potential threat just one month ago, but found not to pose any imminent danger.
Speaking at the memorial service, Støre said the attack may have put an end to the official Pride parade, which was called off, but did not stop the fight ‘against discrimination, prejudices and hate.’
The premier, dressed in black, talked about the thousands of people that spontaneously demonstrated on Saturday in the streets of Oslo, waving rainbow flags and laying flowers at the crime scene to honor the victims.
Hundreds paid their respects yesterday despite being warned of potential violence and an ‘extraordinary’ terror threat
Prime minister Støre today celebrated the persistence of Pride gatherers in the face of tragedy hours before the Pride march
‘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.
‘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,’ he told the audience – which also included mourners, ministers and Church of Norway leaders – in the cathedral which was decorated with rainbow flags.
The suspect’s lawyer, John Christian Elden, was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Zaniar Matapour, 42, has been charged with terrorism, murder and attempted murder
He told broadcaster TV2 it was not possible to draw any conclusions about the motives or reasons for the attack.
‘It is far too early to do so,’ Elden said.
Matapour, who arrived in Norway as a 12-year-old refugee, is subject to a psychiatric evaluation in the coming days as part of the investigation, police said.
The questionings on Saturday and Sunday came to a quick end, his lawyer said.
‘He did not want any recording of the questioning, neither by video nor by sound, because he thought the police would manipulate it,’ Elden told TV2 on Saturday.
The victims in Matapour’s alleged attack have not yet been identified.
A pair of mourners cry at the makeshift memorial of flowers and flags in central Oslo yesterday
The prime minister made a short speech from the cathedral podium as part of the proceedings
The London Pub gay nightclub in central Oslo is pictured on a map of the Norwegian capital
Matapour’s first mental health diagnosis was made in the 1990s, with his listed conditions including paranoid schizophrenia, PTSD and ‘delusions’.
Støre said yesterday: ‘I know that many Muslims are scared and despairing. Then it is our responsibility that no one other than the person behind the attack is responsible.
‘Let there be no doubt, we are one community, we are a diverse community.’
French President Emmanuel Macron slammed the ‘barbarism of the Islamist terrorist’ in a tribute tweet.
After the deadly melee in central Oslo on Saturday, a man was filmed being wrestled to the ground by police with the help of revellers.
One woman described having to play dead to avoid the shooter’s gunfire.
The other site hit during the attack was next door’s Herr Nilsen Jazz Club, where revellers described being hit with flying shards of glass.
She said : ‘There was a woman who pulled me down and told me I had to play dead.’
Video on social media showed emergency services outside London Pub, a gay nightclub in Oslo (pictured, file photo) at 1.15am on Saturday morning. Two were killed in the terror attack
Justice minister Emilie Enger Mehl (right) also came to the midday memorial at Oslo Cathedral
Leading figures in Norwegian society including royals and politicians attended today’s service
Despite the ‘extraordinary’ terror threat, defiant LGBT+ Norwegians marched yesterday
The man then shot the table directly behind her. She escaped London Pub unharmed.
Police lawyer Christian Hatlo said: ‘Our overall assessment is that there are grounds to believe that he wanted to cause grave fear in the population.
‘We need to go through his medical history, if he has any. It’s not something that we’re aware of now.’
Oslo was due to hold its annual gay pride parade later on Saturday, but organisers cancelled the event amid fears of potential ‘copycat’ attacks.
Planners Oslo Pride wrote on Facebook this morning: ‘Oslo Pride has received clear advice and a recommendation that the parade, Pride Park, and any other event in relation to Oslo Pride be cancelled.
A man walks his dog decorated with rainbow feathers near the scene of the London Pub attack
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway lights a candle at the cathedral to remember the dead
Police attend the scene in Oslo in the early hours on Saturday immediately after the shooting
‘We will follow the police’s recommendation and take care of each other’, lead organiser Inger Kristin Haugsevje added.
Oslo Police District confirmed last night: ‘Two people have been confirmed dead in the shooting episode. There are several seriously injured.’
National newspaper in Norway, VG, reported that ‘witnesses said people ran from the scene in panic’.
Oslo’s university hospital said it had gone on red alert following the shooting.
Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.
The chaotic scene in Oslo is pictured, with emergency services on the pavement treating the wounded
Horror footage shows terrified nightclub-goers flee the scene as rapid gunfire is heard
Matapour, filmed by a nearby eyewitness in footage posted to Snapchat, has been charged
Multiple police officers leaned on the 42-year-old to detain him after the mass shooting
‘I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,’ Mr Roenneberg told NRK.
‘First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.’
Adding to tributes by world leaders including Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted yesterday: ‘London stands with Oslo.
‘Our thoughts and solidarity are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this horrific attack, hours before Oslo’s #Pride was due to take place. #LoveIsLove and hate will never win.’