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Monday, May 23, 2022

Vaccine opponents raise new threat

Some of the very people trying to ward off the Corona virus, and keep Norwegians healthy, have been threatened by vaccine opponents. Norway’s state police intelligence agency PST is concerned about violence against those tracking and battling the pandemic.

Vaccination centers like this one that served residents of Bærum west of Oslo, have mostly avoided demonstrations by so-called “anti-vaxxers,” but there was recently a disturbance at a center in Oslo. Police were called to remove the threat protesters mounted at the center set up in the building that formerly housed Oslo’s Munch Museum. PHOTO: NewsInEnglish.no/Morten Møst

“We value freedom of expression, but won’t accept direct death threats,” Gunn Peggy Knudsen, assistant director of public health institute FHI, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Friday.

FHI has been in charge of Norway’s Corona vaccination program and has been relieved that more than 90 percent of Norwegians have cooperated and are now fully vaccinated.

Kundsen confirmed that FHI officials, though, have had to report threats of violence and death to police at least half-a-dozen times since Norway first shut down on March 12, 2020. PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) has connected those making the threats to right-wing extremists and others who have developed what PST calls “anti-state” attitudes in Norway.

“We have seen how some of these people can resort to violence to mark their standpoints,” PST chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold told NRK. “Then they go over into a terrorist track that we need to follow.”

Sjøvold is especially worried about vaccine opponents (so-called “anti-vaxxers”) who ally themselves with right-wing extremists and others with little confidence in state authorities. Vaccination, meanwhile, remains voluntary in Norway.

PST now ranks right-wing- and Islamic extremists as posing the greatest terror threat against Norway during the coming year. Norway has already experienced two deadly right-wing racists’ attacks. FHI, meanwhile, has boosted security at its offices and around specifically named targets of threats.

newsinenglish.no staff

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