Attack On The Labor Party is a news blog about the events surrounding the July 22, 2011 (7/22), attacks on the Norwegian Labor Party carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. The blog will report news stories from Norway and follow developments related to Behring Breivik’s trial which is due to start on April 16, 2012.
- Background information
In March 2011, four months before 7/22, a man telephoned the Norwegian govermental offices and threatened Labor Party officials. The caller criticized the Labor coalition government, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former Prime Minster Gro Harlem Brundtland of the Labor Party. He mentioned a manifesto and spoke about shooting members of the Labor Youth Organization (AUF). As of now (January 2012), it is unknown whether or not this caller was Behring Breivik.
On 7/22, the Norwegian Labor Party was attacked. Behring Breivik first set off a large bomb in front of the building housing the Prime Minister’s office in downtown Oslo. Afterwards, Behring Breivik travelled by car to the outskirts of the city to the Labor Youth Organization’s summer camp, an annual event that takes place on a small island called Utøya. Once there, he walked around the island shooting Labor Youth Organization (AUF) members until the police apprehended him about an hour later. A total of eight (8) people were killed in the Oslo bombing and sixty-nine (69) people on Utøya.
The Labor Youth Organization (AUF) has a long tradition of holding political gatherings at Utøya. Every summer, hundreds of teenagers are trained in Labor Party politics and have an opportunity to meet Labor Party politicians. The island has placenames that reflect Labor’s socialist and communist values; for instance, a popular location for bathing and evening bonfire activities is the “Bolsjevika” Bay. American TV-host, Glenn Beck, caused controversy by saying Utøya bore resemblance to Nazi Youth camps.
Shortly before commencing the 7/22 attacks, Behring Breivik electronically distributed a compendium, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” in which he explained his reasons for his actions. The document describes Labor Party politicians as traitors because of their support for multiculturalism and mass-immigration to Norway. According to the police, Behring Breivik hoped to execute senior Labor Party members visiting the summer camp. One of his targets, former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland had, however, left Utøya shortly before Breivik arrived.
During a parliamentary session in November 2011, several Labor Party representatives left the chambers in tears in reaction to accusations made by the opposition, the Progress Party (FRP), that Labor had been exaggerating their role as victims on 7/22 in a bid to gain sympathy support from the public. Commenting on this session, Foreign Minister and touted future leader of the Labor Party, Jonas Gahr Støre, said to the newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG) (Ap-Helga: – Som om noen vrir en kniv i et åpent sår):
“I felt I needed to reply on the basis of what we have read page after page over the last week about the attacker’s explanation and manifesto. It is clear that his aim was to kill Labor Party representatives, the youngest and most defenseless.”
Earlier during the debate, Gahr Støre had said:
“The Labor party was a victim of July 22. The Labor Party’s jewel, the youth, was defenselessly attacked. It is not possible to be more of a victim than that.”
Some survivors, as well as Labor Youth Organization representatives, have called for reduced media coverage of the attacks so as not to give attention to the actions and ideas of Anders Behring Breivik. The Norwegian press has rejected such appeals on the grounds that it is the duty of the press to cover comprehensively events of historical significance.
The attacks on the Labor Party came as a shock to the Norwegian political community and have increased tensions between Norway’s political parties which are already divided on many issues, such as freedom of speech in relation to immigration, the integration of immigrants and Islam.
- Purpose of this blog project
In the coming months, Attack On The Labor Party will attempt to synthesize what is reported by the Norwegian media and blogosphere, and try to place the attacks into context by linking to various political commentators. We hope this will be useful for those interested in following the court case.
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