AUF cancels Utøya summer camp

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The Labour Party’s youth organization AUF claims it still intends “to take Utøya back” after last summer’s massacre on the island, but it’s decided to cancel this year’s political summer camp. More time is needed to repair and replace facilities where 69 persons were killed and 66 wounded on July 22.

Labour activists and supporters are still determined to "take back" Utøya and rebuild it as a new center for democratic thinking. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

“We will still take Utøya back, but it is practically impossible to hold a summer camp there this year,” AUF leader Eskil Pedersen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He added that it also “just didn’t feel right, one year after July 22.”

Pedersen conceded that it had been difficult to understand how much time and work were needed before Utøya would be ready to host another political summer camp.

Newspaper VG reported that AUF’s leadership decided that new and renovated buildings and other facilities should stand ready for use before hundreds of Labour Party youth members gather for another summer camp at the site of the massacre.

Members still plan to gather there, though, on July 22 this year for memorials one year after the attack that was carried out by a Norwegian right-wing extremist who blamed Labour for Norway’s emergence as a multi-cultural society.

AUF has received major donations to fund renovations on Utøya. One building that housed a café will be torn down, while other buildings that are full of bullet holes and broken windows are being repaired.

Confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has claimed full responsibility for the massacre, carried out after he first bombed government headquarters in Oslo. Breivik, dressed like a police officer, arrived on Utøya at 5:08pm on July 22 and started shooting shortly thereafter. Nearly 600 people were on the island when he started gunning them down. Many escaped his bullets by hiding or playing dead, while some others managed to swim from the island in the Tyrifjord back to land.

Breivik’s trial is scheduled to begin April 16.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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