Solberg: ‘Don’t let terror scare us’

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Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the terrorist attack in Manchester Monday night “gruesome and meaningless,” and said she hopes it won’t scare Norwegians away from concerts and other public gatherings. She sent her condolences to the UK and said it was “an incredibly sad day.”

Prime Minister Erna Solberg also spoke this week at the Oslo Freedom Forum, while condemning terror and urging everyone to take their freedom seriously. PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

Solberg met reporters Tuesday morning after a suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and injured scores more at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. The concert had attracted thousands of young Grande fans, and many children are among the dead.

“I think it’s cowardly to attack children and young people who are out to enjoy themselves at a concert, and to create fear in our society,” Solberg said. “It’s important that they (terrorists) don’t get that opportunity.”

She hopes people don’t change their lifestyles. “We must dare to go to festivals, we shall go to concerts and look forward to those this summer too,” Solberg said.

Big concert in Oslo will proceed as planned
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Tuesday morning that organizers of a Bruno Mars concert at the Telenor Arena just west of Oslo on Wednesday had an emergency meeting with police Tuesday morning. They concluded that security was sufficient and the show would go on. Nearly 23,000 tickets have been sold to the concert, and everyone will be searched before being allowed into the arena.

Solberg noted that terrorist attacks in recent years have changed from being directed at the authorities to “soft targets” like concerts, restaurants and public gatherings. That’s why Norwegian police were out in force during last week’s Constitution Day celebrations on the 17th of May, and barricaded streets leading to the main parade route in Oslo.

Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) had not raised the terror alert in Norway by midday, following the latest Manchester attack. “We continue to ask everyone to be alert and call the police if we see anything unnatural,” Solberg said.

Finance minister just in Manchester herself
Finance Minister Siv Jensen, who attended a concert at the Manchester Arena over the weekend herself, said that terrorist attacks are arbirtary and told state broadcaster NRK that “we must continue to live our lives regardless. We can’t guard ourselves against things like this. My thoughts go to all those who are affected by these terrible incidents.”

She said she felt safe in Manchester “but I didn’t walk around thinking that something could happen either. We still need to fill up halls, take part and not let fear win. Then it’s the terrorists who win.”

Foreign Minister Børge Brende, who’s hosting a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Oslo on Tuesday and Wednesday that will include a meeting with the president of the World Bank, also sent his “deepest condolences” to the victims of the “terrible explosion in Manchester during the night.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund