Sweden remembers the victims in Norway
On the first anniversary of the attacks in Oslo and Utøya that killed 77 people, memorials have been held across Norway, but also here in neighboring Sweden.
There have been religious services and memorials in Stockholm, Gothenburg and many other Swedish towns and cities. Around 200 people gathered at Stockholm’s Segels torg plaza to observe three minutes of silence at 3:25 PM, the time the bomb set by Anders Behring Breivik went off near a government building in Oslo. Afterwards 77 candles were lit, one for each of the victims.
There was a memorial at the Norwegian community center Norges Hus in Gothenburg.
Around 50 people took part in a memorial service at the Norwegian Church in Stockholm Sunday morning.
Opening the ceremony, Frode Solberg from the Norwegian Embassy said:
“The terror deeds will affect us all for a long time. This last year we have had many answers, but there are still many questions. How could this happen in our open society.”
In a letter to his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt expresses his own and the Swedish government’s sympathies on the anniversary.
“It is just as inconceivable today as it was then,” he writes. “Our thoughts are of all the lives that were taken far too early, to the survivors and the dreadful memories that they carry every day, and to the families who were left in sorrow and loss.”
Reinfeldt concludes that Norway’s open and tolerant way of dealing with the disaster “has strengthened faith in the values of democratic society.”
Anders Behring Breivik’s 10 week trial ended last month, and he is awaiting the verdict. While there is no doubt he carried out the attacks, the judges must decide if he should be considered criminally sane and sentenced to prison, as requested by the defence, or follow the prosecution’s line and send him to a closed psychiatric ward. The verdict is expected to be announced on August 24.