Thousands of people gathered in the Norwegian capital despite warnings from police (Picture: Getty)
Thousands of Pride protesters came together for an LGBTQ+ rally in Oslo days after two people were killed in a mass shooting outside a gay bar.
The demonstrators defied requests from Norwegian police to cancel the event amid fears for a reprise attack.
They held up signs saying ‘you can’t cancel us’ and ‘sexual freedom’ to remind the capital city that Pride is not a party but a protest.
More than 20 people were wounded on Saturday after a gunman opened fire in Oslo’s nightlife district, in what was described as an ‘Islamist terror act’.
Witnesses said the attacker took out a gun from his bag and started firing at three venues.
‘First I thought it was an air gun,’ journalist Olav Roenneberg said.
‘Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.’
Zaniar Matapour was arrested minutes after the shooting and held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
The 43-year-old Norwegian citizen, who is originally from Iran, has not offered any explanation to detectives.
Prosecutor Ingvild Myrold said they had ‘many hypotheses’ regarding a motive although police have unsuccessfully tried to question the suspect for three days.
‘We take a closer look at his mental health, his political motives and background and possibly who else he may have had contact with before this happened,’ she told the Associated Press.
Thousands attended a memorial service after the attack on Saturday (Picture: EPA)
People brought rainbow flags and flowers in front of Oslo’s city hall (Picture: Getty)
Mourners comforted each other as they stand at the scene of the shooting (Picture: AP)
Partcipants cheered during the speeches at the impromptu Pride event (Picture: Pride)
‘We do not exclude anything. But now the accusation is about pure terror incident.’
Tributes have poured in from people across Europe following the attack.
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, tweeted in response: ‘This is why we still need Pride.
‘Sincere condolences to the victims and loved ones of those murdered in Oslo. The price of queer freedom is eternal vigilance!’
Police had requested that all Pride events be indefinitely postponed yesterday because they remained a target.
‘We know that this can be big, and as long as we have such an unresolved threat situation, we cannot recommend that [the march] be implemented,’ Oslo police chief Martin Strand said.
After the attack, Norway’s security agency raised the threat scale from moderate to its highest level.
They said the move ‘implies that there has been a terrorist attack and that there is an unresolved situation’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride
This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.
And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, as well as the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights.
During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict, and youth homelessness charity AKT. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.
For Metro.co.uk‘s latest Pride coverage, click here.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.