The colours of the rainbow have been decorating everything from the Norwegian government’s official website to some local embassies and the logo of the country’s biggest bank this week. Oslo Pride celebrations will reach their climax on Saturday, when tens of thousands were expected to march in the Pride Parade.
The parade was scheduled to start at 1pm in the Grønland district of Oslo and end in Spikersuppa, in the heart of town between the Parliament and the National Theater. Organizers were expecting a record turnout, not least after the recent shootings in Orlando, Florida, by a man claiming to hate homosexuals.
Lars Arnesen, chairman of Oslo Pride, said the parade and the week’s associated events have been more important than ever, and he hoped the parade would bring people together instead of frightening them away. Police, many of whom march in the parade themselves, were boosting their preparedness.
Government minsters, other politicians, celebrities and immigrants from cultures where homosexuality is outlawed were due to march side-by-side. Among them was Knut Arild Hareide, the leader of the conservative Christian Democrats party in Norway, who wanted to show his solidarity after the Orlando attacks.
Hareide was met by protests from fellow party members, some of whom said they would withdraw their party membership if their leader showed support for the fight against discrimination, violence and harassment of non-heterosexuals. “I can’t expect that everyone agrees with everything I do as party leader,” Hareide told state broadcaster NRK. He still planned to show “solidarity, support and sympathy for the LHBTI milieu in Norway.”