A Norwegian court has dismissed local opposition to a memorial being built to mark the 2011 terrorist attack at Utøya island.
Almost ten years have passed since the tragic events on Utøya shocked Norway and the world.
On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in an Oslo bombing followed by a massacre on the island where he had posed as a police officer.
Memorial construction is underway
Construction of a national memorial began a few months ago, but locals had taken their opposition to the courts.
This week, Ringerike District Court ruled in favour of the state and AUF–the youth wing of Norway's Labour Party–allowing the project to continue.
An AUF spokesperson said they were “satisfied and relieved.” Secretary General Sindre Lyso explained that a national memorial “means an awful lot to those who lost someone, the survivors and their relatives.”
A spokesperson for the locals say they are “shocked and disappointed.” The group has one month to launch an appeal.
Why are locals upset?
Some residents near Utoya believe that the memorial will prolong the trauma they suffered on July 22, 2011.
The trial has been defined by strong emotions on both sides. Several of the locals involved in the legal case helped to rescue young people by boat on the day of the attacks.
While many believe a national memorial is appropriate, it will undoubtedly make the site–located at the ferry dock used to get to the island–one for dark tourism.
About the memorial
The process to get to a memorial site has been a long, complex one. Almost four years ago, the original planned memorial at Sørbråten was cancelled because of fierce local opposition.
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In order to avoid conflict with neighbours, the AUF-owned Utøykaia site was chosen for the revised memorial. AUF also owns Utøya island itself.
When complete, it will feature 77 bronze columns, each three metres high. That's one for each of the lives lost on 22 July, 2011. Unfortunately, the memorial will not be finished in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.