Norway opens Breivik massacre exhibition

GMT 13:59 2015 Wednesday ,22 July

Arab Today, arab today Norway opens Breivik massacre exhibition

Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik
Oslo - AFP

Four years after the attacks by Anders Behring Breivik, Norway on Wednesday opened an exhibition dedicated to the tragedy that some fear could become a "hall of fame" for the mass murderer.

The exhibition has triggered controversy as several objects used by Breivik in his July 2011 rampage, such as the remains of the van where he hid his bomb and the fake ID and insignia he used to impersonate a police officer, are on display.

The right-wing extremist killed 77 people in in the worst peacetime atrocity in Norway, claiming he was fighting against multiculturalism and a "Muslim invasion".

The temporary exhibition is housed on the ground floor of the government complex in Oslo that the killer, now 36, unsuccessfully tried to blow up with a massive car bomb.

"The information centre should spread knowledge in order to prevent hatred, violence and terrorism," Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at the opening, in a speech that brought her close to tears.

"This year, terror struck again in Europe, in Copenhagen and in Paris," a black-clad Solberg told an audience of about 200 people.

"This week it hit young people in Turkey," she added, referring to the suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in the border town of Suruc on Monday.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik detonated a 950-kilo (over 2,000 pound) car bomb at the foot of the 17-storey office building of the prime minister, current NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

The attack killed eight people.

Then, in what is believed to be the deadliest peacetime shooting incident ever committed by a single man, he opened fire on a gathering of the Labour Party's youth wing on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people, most of them teenagers.

- Painful history -
Breivik, who has never shown any remorse, is currently in solidary confinement serving a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely if he is considered a threat.

The government has sought to defend the massacre exhibition.

"We must convey this painful part of our recent history in an honest way," Norway's Minister of Local Government, Jan Tore Sanner, told a local newspaper earlier this month.

A lawyer representing Breivik's victims, John Christian Elden, has slammed the project.

"A Breivik museum in the government complex? No thank you. Send the goods to the National Museum of Justice in Trondheim instead," he wrote on Twitter.
Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a support group for survivors and victims' families, who lost her 18-year-old daughter on Utoya, said she supported the exhibition.

"Many were of course sceptical because of headlines in the media (but) the feedback has been very positive," she told AFP after visiting the centre on Tuesday with around 500 other people affected by the tragedy.

A memorial for Breivik's victims will also be inaugurated on Tuesday on Utoya, which lies about 30 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Oslo.

In another move that stirred anger in Norway, the University of Oslo said last week it had admitted Breivik to a political science course.

Norwegian convicts have the right to higher education if they meet the admission requirements and the course Breivik applied for could in theory lead to a bachelor's degree that would focus heavily on democracy and human rights.

But Breivik, who once made a living from selling fake university diplomas, is unlikely to be able to graduate as some of the courses require him to attend university seminars.


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