Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has led a ceremony outside the government buildings in Oslo where two years ago eight people were killed in a bomb attack. It was the start of one of the blackest days in the country’s history.
Anders Behring Breivik had planted the bomb, within two hours he killed a further 69 people.
“We think of those who were injured, and we think of their relatives. We must never give up our values in the face of terrorism. The answer to violence is more openness, more democracy, but never naivety. That remains my answer,” said the prime minister.
Crown Prince Haakon and his wife were among those at Oslo Cathedral in a service to remember the dead and to offer support to the survivors many of whom are still suffering flashbacks and trauma. The cathedral became a gathering point in the days after the attacks.
Trond Henry Blattmann, leader of the National Support Committee for 22 July in Norway, lost his son in the massacre and spoke of his feelings leading up to the anniversary.
“It is a day that we all know is bound to come. And you know it will be difficult, because you lost the one you loved. I lost my son. At the same time it helps to be here where it happened,” he said.
Many young people gathered on Utoya island – just as they had done two years ago for a political summer camp. It was here Brevik went on his shooting spree.
The island was open all weekend for survivors and victims’ families wanting to gather for their own private memorials.