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Norway: July 22 memorials held nationwide

OHMYGOSSIP — Memorials were being held all over Norway on Monday as state and community leaders lent support to survivors of the terrorist attacks of July 22, 2011. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who had a full schedule of appearances on the second anniversary of the attacks on his government, said he thinks such memorials will continue, in a subdued manner.

“I think we still need this day,” Stoltenberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), to remember the 77 victims of the attacks, to grieve together and “to find strength” in being together. He made his remarks in an early morning live interview before heading for ceremonies on Monday at the government complex in Oslo that was bombed (10am), at the Oslo Cathedral (noon) which became a gathering point in the days after the attacks and, finally, to the island of Utøya (2pm), where 69 persons were killed in a massacre.

Recent studies have shows that many of the survivors of the bombing and massacre are still suffering flashbacks and trauma from their ordeal. Critics have claimed that not all are getting enough help, while others say the government must do more to fight racism and counter the extreme right-wing attitudes that led to the attacks by a young, white Norwegian man who claimed he was trying to save Norway from the effects of immigration. Recent surveys, however, have shown that a vast majority of Norwegians support immigration and think it has enriched Norwegian society.

The island of Utøya was open all weekend for survivors and victims’ families wanting to gather for their own private memorials. “It will be a day with no pressure and will peace and quiet,” John Hestnes, deputy leader of the national support group formed after the attacks. “Folks will be free to wander around at their own pace.”

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