Norwegians sing against Breivik | News | DW | 26.04.2012
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Norwegians sing against Breivik

Some 40,000 Norwegians gather to sing children's songs as a mark of respect honoring the victims of extremist Anders Berhring Breivik.

Tens of thousands of people took part in a "rose rally" in central Oslo as a tribute to the 77 victims of the attacks carried out by extremist Anders Berhring Breivik in July last year.

As they gathered to wave roses and sing "My Rainbow Race," by American folk singer Pete Seeger, in the central square of the Norwegian capital, the court heard evidence from survivors of the bomb blast, which Breivik said he was responsible for detonating, and which claimed the lives of eight and injured over 200 others.

The rally was a private initiative started by two women. Lill Hjonnevag told NRK television it was necessary to "reclaim the song," which is a well-known Norwegian children's tune, and which Breivik called an example of "Marxist indoctrination."

Girls tie roses to railings outside a courthouse where Breivik is standing trial

Over 40,000 Norwegians gathered to lay roses around the court house where Breivik is being tried

Evoking memories of the mass "rose rally" held across the country just days after the attacks. Musician Lillebjorn Nilsen, who translated the text into Norwegian, lead the crowd in song, before they walked from Youngstorget Square in the city's center to the court building, where they placed roses around the building.

"It was very moving," Harald Foster, who was injured in the blast, told NRK when he saw the large crowds and piles of roses outside the court. He was called to court as a witness to the attacks and was in the hospital recovering from injuries he sustained in the blast when the first rally took place.

Watch video 00:19

Singing against Breivik

Christine Bar, an organizer of the Oslo gathering, told NRK she was left "speechless" by the large number of people participating. The gathering, she said, was considerably more than the 5,000 expected to attend.

Breivik, a right-wing extremist, is charged with detonating the bomb in Oslo's central business district, which targeted government offices. He later shot dead 69 people at a camping ground near the capital. He has claimed responsibility for the deaths but insisted he did not commit a crime because he was defending Norway's ethnic purity.

jw/sms (AFP, AP)

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