Residents living near the island of Utøya, where a right-wing gunman massacred 69 young Labour Party members on July 22, 2011, have once again resorted to legal action to block construction of a memorial to the victims in their neighbourhood. They don’t want more reminders of the massacre, or a constant stream of visitors to a memorial.
Survivors of the massacre, and the families of those killed, counter that the public sector’s failure to erect a memorial is shameful, 10 years after the event that shook the nation. State and local officials thought they’d reached a compromise between survivors and the locals on a new memorial site at the pier where the ferry to Utøya is berthed, and where many survivors were brought to safety.
Local officials of Hole municipality approved the site two weeks ago, but over strong protests from the neighbours. The neighbours have since hired an attorney to send a complaint to county officials over the decision, and sue Hole officials with the goal, according to state broadcaster NRK, of halting the memorial project.
They claim the memorial will have mental health consequences for the residents. Construction was supposed to begin in June. The courts will be left to decide whether the need for a memorial is greater than the need to protect local residents.