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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Victim of racism remembered

A memorial group in Holmlia, south of Oslo, was planning another demonstration with flaming torches in the Norwegian capital on Wednesday, this time in honor of Benjamin Hermansen, a teenager stabbed to death 10 years ago because he had dark skin.

Hermansen, who had a mother from Norway and a father from Ghana, was the random victim of two neo-Nazi men who chased him while he was standing outside a kiosk chatting with a friend on the evening of January 26, 2001. His pursuers caught him, pinned him down and stabbed him in the heart.

Both attackers were found, convicted and sentenced to 18- and 17-year prison terms. They remain in custody. Hermansen’s murder set off a national reaction the likes of which were unseen since World War II, with an estimated 40,000 Norwegians marching to protest racism. The demonstration in Oslo attracted the prime minister at the time, the bishop of Oslo and the crown prince.

The memorial group formed after Hermansen’s death was organizing an anniversary march at 5:30pm Wednesday from the main public square in Oslo, Youngstorget, to Universitetsplassen. The group, Benjamins Minnefond, also planned to once again award an annual prize to recognize efforts to combat racism.

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