Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People lay Pride flags and flowers outside the gay bar where a gunman in Oslo killed two people and injured 21 on June 25, 2022.

People lay Pride flags and flowers outside the gay bar where a gunman in Oslo killed two people and injured 21 on June 25, 2022. (Photo:Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil

A 42-year-old gunman was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, and terrorist acts on Saturday after he killed two people and injured 21 during an overnight shooting rampage in and around an Oslo gay bar—just hours before the city was supposed to hold its annual Pride parade.

"My first thought was that Pride was the target, so that's frightening."

"There is reason to think that this may be a hate crime," Norwegian police said. "We are investigating whether... Pride was a target in itself or whether there are other motives."

In the wake of what Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people," Oslo's annual Pride celebration was canceled based on police advice.

"We will soon be proud and visible again, but today, we will share our Pride celebrations from home," Inger Kristin Haugsevje, leader of Oslo Pride, and Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of the Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said in a statement.

As Reuters reported, "The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday, with victims shot inside and outside the London Pub, a longstanding hub of Oslo's LGBTQ scene, as well as in the surrounding streets and at one other bar in the center of the Norwegian capital."

Bili Blum-Jansen, who was inside the London Pub at the time, sought refuge in the basement, hiding there alongside 80 to 100 other people.

"Many called their partners and family, it felt almost as if they were saying goodbye," he told Norway's TV2. "Others helped calm down those who were extremely terrified."

"I had a bit of panic and thought that if the shooter or shooters were to arrive, we'd all be dead," he added. "There was no way out."

Marcus Nybakken, who had left the London Pub shortly before gunfire erupted and returned later to help, recounted the horrific shooting and its aftermath. 

"Many people were crying and screaming, the injured were screaming, people were distressed and scared—very, very scared," Nybakken said. "My first thought was that Pride was the target, so that's frightening."

Although the city's Pride parade was canceled as a result of the attack, Reuters reported that "several thousand people began what appeared to be a spontaneous march in central Oslo, waving rainbow flags and chanting in English: 'We're here, we're queer, we won't disappear.'"

The suspect was detained minutes after the shooting began, according to police who said they believe he acted alone. Two weapons, one of them a fully automatic gun, were retrieved from the crime scene, they added.

National security authorities raised Norway's terrorism threat assessment to its highest level following the attack.

Norway's law enforcement officials, who are not usually armed, will carry guns until further notice, national police chief Benedicte Bjoernland announced.

Norway has lower crime rates than many of its high-income peers. However, this is not the first hate-motivated mass shooting in the Scandinavian nation of 5.4 million. The deadliest occurred in 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Progressives Mobilize in Georgia for Dec. 6 Senate Runoff

Advocacy groups backing Sen. Raphael Warnock call the Democrat a "reproductive rights champion" who is also "fighting to stop the climate crisis and create good jobs in the process."

Jessica Corbett ·


Senate Report Details Failure to Confront 'Persistent and Lethal' Threat of White Supremacists

"The federal government has continued to allocate resources disproportionately aligned to international terrorist threats over domestic terrorist threats," the report reads.

Julia Conley ·


Justice Demanded After Qatari World Cup Official Admits Hundreds of Migrant Worker Deaths

"Until all abuses suffered by migrant workers in Qatar are remedied, the legacy of this World Cup will be severely tarnished by their mistreatment," said Amnesty International's head of economic and social justice.

Brett Wilkins ·


Congressional Labor Caucus Demands More Funding for NLRB Before GOP Takes House

"Workers need the NLRB to receive funding that allows it to fully implement its mission," several Democratic lawmakers told House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer.

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives in Congress Begin to Push Back Against Biden Betrayal of Rail Workers

"What we're seeing is an inhumane deal being pushed onto workers even after a majority voted it down," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo