Support for nuke ban lit up the streets

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A Norwegian professor is among those who nominated this year’s winner of the  Nobel Peace Prize. He’s far from the only one to strongly support the work of the  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), as thousands of Norwegians also took to the streets to hail ICAN leaders.

Thousands turned out in Oslo Sunday night to hail the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, represented by leaders of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

“I’m so glad the (Norwegian Nobel) committee landed on ICAN,” Dr Ole Petter Ottersen, a professor of medicine and former rector of the University of Oslo, told state broadcaster NRK. Ottersen is now rector at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. He said he nominated ICAN because he was impressed over how they work.

Bård Vegar Solhjell, a former Member of Parliament for the Socialist Left party (SV) also nominated ICAN, for the second time. Now his party has pushed through a measure in Parliament ordering the government to reevaluate its decision not to sign a UN treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

ICAN leader Beatrice Fihn made it clear she was “only one” of all the ICAN supporters around the world who won the Peace Prize, but she and Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow were the ones to accept the prize in Oslo on Sunday. They also were thrilled by the sight of the traditional torchlit parade of supporters for Nobel Peace Prize winners who marched through downtown Sunday evening in their honour. State broadcaster NRK reported there were many more on the streets than usual, chanting “I can, I can” in unison.

Norwegian newspapers have also editorialized in favour of the prize, with Aftenposten, for example, writing that the Nobel Committee “showed integrity” in choosing ICAN. One of the committee’s biggest critics over the years, Oslo lawyer Fredrik S Heffermehl, has also hailed this year’s prize.

Heffermehl, who leads the organization Nobel Peace Prize Watch, also claimed on Sunday that Nobel Committee leader Berit Reiss-Andersen “delivered the best Nobel address ever, with strong praise for the most important disarmament question.” He said he didn’t think anyone in the movement against nuclear weapons “could have held a better or more well-articulated speech about why it’s so important to get rid of nuclear weapons.” Heffermehl has criticized many Nobel Peace Prizes in recent years, but has claimed, as Reiss-Andersen did, that this year’s prize fufilled all of prize benefactor Alfred Nobel’s criteria. Berglund