Gunman opens fire on Oslo gay bar, killing two on Pride Parade day

Gunman opens fire on Oslo gay bar, killing two on Pride Parade day
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OSLO, June 25 (Reuters) – A gunman launched a horrific attack at a gay bar and surrounding streets in Oslo on Saturday, killing two people and injuring more than 20 on the day the city’s LGBTQ community was to celebrate its annual Pride Parade. parade.

The attack took place in the early hours, with victims shot inside and outside the London Pub, a well-known gay bar and nightclub that has been open since 1979, as well as another bar in the center of the Norwegian capital.

“A lot of people were crying and screaming, the injured were screaming, people were distressed and frightened – very, very scared,” said Marcus Nybakken, 46, who had left the London Pub shortly before the attack and later returned to help.

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“My first thought was Pride was the target, so that’s scary.”

Journalist Olav Roenneberg, from the public broadcaster NRK, said he was in the area at the time and saw a man come with a bag, pull out his gun and start shooting: “Then I saw the windows were smashed and I knew I had to take cover.”

A 42-year-old Norwegian national of Iranian descent was detained minutes after he began his shooting spree, according to police, who said they thought he was acting alone. They added that two weapons were seized from the scene, including a fully automatic pistol.

“There is reason to think this might be a hate crime,” police said. “We are investigating whether Pride is a target in itself or if there are other motives,” he said.

They added that the attack is also being investigated as a possible terrorist act.

Commander Benedicte Bjoernland said Norwegian police, who are not normally armed, will carry weapons as a precaution until further notice. Norway’s PST intelligence service added that it is investigating whether there will be further attacks. “We don’t have any indication of that for now,” PST said.

Oslo Pride organizers canceled Saturday’s parade based on police advice. “Soon we will be proud again and be visible, but today we will celebrate pride at home,” they said.

King Harald of Norway said he and his royal family were devastated by the attack, and police said 10 people were seriously injured and 11 were slightly injured.

“We must stand together and defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other,” the 85-year-old monarch said.

The attack comes just months after Norway marked the 50th anniversary of the repeal of a law that criminalizes gay sex. Police said the suspect was known to authorities, including more mildly violent acts of violence.

The Scandinavian country of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries, despite being subject to hate-motivated gun attacks, including the 2011 killing of 77 people by far-right Anders Behring Breivik.

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reporting by Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Sam Holmes and Pravin Char

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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