The police in Norway are seeking a postponement of Pride events after shooting at a gay bar

  • The police provide information from intelligence for delay
  • Major Pride gathering in Oslo canceled
  • Suspects imprisoned for the first four weeks
  • The court names the suspect as Zaniar Matapour

OSLO, June 27 (Reuters) – Norwegian police said on Monday that all Pride events across the country should be delayed, referring to security concerns after a deadly weekend fight by a gunman at a gay bar in Oslo.

The police had initially approved a planned gathering outside Oslo City Hall on Monday of the city’s LGBTQ community to honor the victims of the attack. read more

However, they later advised the organizers to cancel the event, which was expected to draw a large gathering. Norway raised the terrorist threat assessment to its highest level after Saturday’s attack, which left two dead and 21 wounded.

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The police also called for the cancellation of Pride events across the country, with reference to information from the Norwegian police intelligence service, PST, without giving details.

Pride events should be postponed “until further notice”, as the queer environment is considered part of the “enemy” of extremist Islamists, said National Police Chief Benedicte Bjoernland in a statement.

Oslo Pride, one of the supporters of Monday’s demonstration and the organizer of the annual Pride celebration that was to take place on Saturday, confirmed that it would cancel the gathering.

“We regret that we must once again say that a Pride event must be canceled,” it said in a statement. – It is wrong, as the police claim, that this was intended as a small event. We understand that people are now frustrated and still want to gather.

IMPRISONMENT

Oslo District Court on Monday named the suspect for the attack as Zaniar Matapour, a 43-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin. read more

Police described him as a radicalized Islamist with a history of mental illness.

The court ruled that Matapour could be remanded in custody for up to four weeks – a period that can be extended – during the investigation into the mass shooting. He will undergo a psychiatric examination as part of it, the police say. read more

He was apprehended by passers-by who chased him down the street. Police arrived at the scene five minutes after receiving the first emergency calls and arrested him. read more

Intelligence services said they had known Matapour since 2015 and that he had been part of a network of Islamist extremists in Norway.

“Around 2015, we were worried about this person,” Roger Berg, acting head of PST, told private broadcaster TV2 on Saturday.

“We have followed him, to a certain extent. In recent times, he was not one of those we were most worried about.”

His lawyer, John Christian Elden, did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

He told TV2 that it was not possible to draw any conclusions about the motives or causes of the attack. “It’s too early to do that,” he said.

Matapour is accused of murder, attempted murder and terrorism. His response to the allegations is unknown.

He moved to Norway as a child with his parents, became a father and lived for several years mainly on benefits, reported tabloid VG.

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Reporting of Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; editing by John Stonestreet and Deepa Babington

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