UPDATED: Police patrols were extensive around a demonstration in support of Israel in Oslo on Sunday. The demonstration took place in front of the Norwegian Parliament in downtown Oslo, and attracted an estimated 400-500 people.
Police told news bureau NTB that they’d received no applications of any counter-demonstrations to the event planned by the pro-Israeli organization MIFF (Med Israel for Fred, With Israel for Peace). Demonstrations on behalf of the Palestinians have already been held in Oslo during the past few weeks, as the crisis deepened in and around Gaza.
“But we’re prepared that there can be a situation, and have dimensioned our patrols in line with that,” Tor Jøkling, operations leader for the Oslo Police District, told NTB. He declined to go into detail, but confirmed that police mounted on horses would be part of the police presence intended to maintain the peace. A police helicopter also flew overhead.
Some pro-Palestinian crowds showed up, but remained behind police barricades and no confrontations were reported.
Police have also stepped up patrols and security around the Israeli Embassy in Oslo, which has been an earlier target of demonstrations. During the last major outbreak of violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians in Gaza, a MIFF demonstration was met by counter-demonstrators that led to fighting on the streets.
Sunday’s demonstration to show support for Israel was due to include appeals by Hans Fredrik Grøvan, a Member of Parliament for the Christian Democrats party (Kristelig Folkeparti, KrF) who leads Israels venner på Stortinget (Israel’s Friends in the Parliament), and Kristian Norheim, deputy leader of the foreign relations- and defense committee in the Parliament for the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp). Several MIFF leaders also spoke.