As many as 50,000 people are expected to march through downtown Oslo on Saturday and then gather for another major show of support for the Pride movement. They aim to promote tolerance for gender diversity and defy threats, but security experts were concerned they’re still a target.
Oslo Police appear confident the march can safely be carried out, based on “good dialogue” with organizers and plans for lots of both uniformed- and civilian-clad officers on the streets. The police’s own intelligence agency PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste), however, warned that terrorist threat levels in Norway remain high around this weekend’s Pride event.
PST reported this week that they think extremists have been inspired by last summer’s mass shooting in Oslo on the eve of the annual Pride event that ended up being cancelled. Thousands defied the cancellation and marched the next day anyway, and now another event has been arranged that’s due to end with a large gathering at Kontraskjæret, the open space adjacent to City Hall Plaza and the Akershus Fortress.
“We see that there are several who have the ability and willingness to carry out terror in Norway,” Hedvig Moe, deputy chief of PST, told newspaper Aftenposten. Among them are both right-wing and Islamic extremists. “We are still worried and unsure about the situation,” Moe said.
Pride organizers remained intent on moving forward with the event. “We invite everyone who wants to show that love wins (and) diversity is an asset,” said Pride leader Dan Bjørke. The march was due to begin at 1pm from Kongensgate via Rosenkrantz gate (where the shooting occurred) to City Hall Plaza and Kontraskjæret. The city has painted portions of Rosenkrantz gate in rainbow colours for the occasion.