Tue, Aug 23, 2011 - Page 6 News List

King, PM speak at remembrance service in Oslo

SHOCK:The prime minister said the country must hold firm to its democratic values to fight extremism and that being prepared helps to create security

Reuters, OSLO

From left to right, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Danish Crown Prince Frederik, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson arrive at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday to pay their respects to those killed in last month’s attacks in Norway.

Photo: Reuters

“Freedom is stronger than fear,” King Harald told Norwegians on Sunday, hoping to unite a nation shattered by an anti--immigration zealot who killed 77 people, mostly youths, in two attacks.

The king spoke, often in a trembling voice, at a national ceremony of remembrance for those killed last month by Anders Behring Breivik, who detonated a car bomb in Oslo and shot youths at a Labor Party camp on Utoeya island outside the capital.

Relatives sobbed when the names of the dead were read out one by one.

“I maintain a belief that freedom is stronger than fear,” King Harald said. “It is good to be together at this time ... As a father, grandfather and spouse I can only begin to sense some of the pain you feel. As king of the nation I feel for every one of you.”

With tears in his eyes, the 74-year-old monarch praised the work of emergency workers and others who helped save lives on July 22.

About 6,700 people attended the ceremony, including relatives of the victims, survivors, police, firemen and emergency personnel who dealt with the attacks.

The Norwegian royal family, the presidents of Finland and Iceland, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Danish Crown Prince Frederik attended too, as did all the Nordic prime ministers and diplomats from many countries.

“Today we are stopping the clock to remember the dead. We are doing so as a nation,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg, who has been praised across the country for the way he dealt with the aftermath of the attacks, said Norway must stand firm behind its democratic values to fight extremism.

“We must invite in those who have gone astray. We must oppose those who want to use violence,” he said. “We must meet them with all the arms of democracy.”

However, in a sign that Norway’s open society may change, the prime minister said there must be more security.

“Good preparation creates security. Police in the streets creates security. Controls. Exercises. Equipment,” he said. “We must do all this.”

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