Utøya memorial still causing problems

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Attempts by the Norwegian government to build a memorial to the victims of a massacre on the island of Utøya in 2011 remain stymied, with local residents still threatening to sue if a memorial is built in their neighbourhood.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Tuesday that state property agency Statsbygg will recommend construction of a memorial at Utøykaia, the area where the only boat shuttling between the mainland and the island that unwittingly transported the ultra-right-wing terrorist to the island. The area was also where many of the summer campers on the island arrived after fleeing the massacre by swimming from the island back to the mainland.

Neighbours, however, don’t want a permanent memorial to the victims in their community, fearing it will attract more crowds and serve as an unwanted daily reminder of the tragedy on July 22, 2011. Many of them took part in rescue efforts that day, but now want to move on. If a memorial is to be built, they want it placed on the hillside high above their community called Utsikten, for its view to Utøya.

Both the Labour Party youth organization AUF, which was the target of the terrorist’s attack, and the national support group for survivors and families of victims support a memorial at Utøykaia. They were disappointed to hear later on Tuesday that the prominent Norwegian lawyer representing the local residents, Harald Stabell, said his clients were still inclined to sue to stop any memorial construction at or near Utøykaia.

It appears the neighbours have at least succeeded in halting construction of a much larger memorial at Sørbråten, also in their community. It had won an architectual competition several years ago and its artist has worked with on the project ever since, at the state’s expense, but his project now is expected to be scrapped.

newsinenglish.no staff