Norwegian politicians from all parties have gathered in parliament to remember the victims of the Oslo bombing and Utøya shootings – during which Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that a national day of mourning will take place on Sunday August 21.
Stoltenberg spoke after the parliament’s president, Dag Terje Andersen, had listed the names of all of the 77 dead during his own speech, describing the attacks as “still not to be comprehended.” King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon were present at the special session of parliament, as were many people affected by the attacks.
News agency NTB reported that the decision to hold a national day of mourning was taken by the government in liaison with opposition parties. A memorial concert will be held on the day in Oslo Spektrum, one of the biggest venues in the capital, to which survivors, those affected and emergency services personnel will be invited.
Stoltenberg thanked members of parliament for their solidarity during a time of crisis and also the Norwegian people in his speech, telling parliament that after the attacks “the map was broken apart, the compass was blown to pieces, each and everyone had to choose their path in a landscape marked by shock, fear and despair.” He continued that “it could have gone wrong, but the Norwegian people found their way” and that “out of the dark and in the uncertainty we returned home to Norway again.”
He gave particular praise to the nation’s young people, stating that “the Labour Youth were shot, but a whole generation rose up in protest.” He went on to describe the “22 July generation” as “our heroes and our hope.”
President Andersen added his own thanks to the emergency services involved in operations to help those affected, as well as individuals who had volunteered their help from campsites around Utøya island. He also praised the country’s politicians for their cooperation and togetherness during the events.
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