NEWS ROUNDUP: As officials prepare for Sunday’s commemoration of the attacks of 22 July, Oslo police say they have increased security as a precaution and are to close several roads in the capital.
Officer Torstein J. Stephansen told NRK there are “no indications” anything might happen. Nevertheless, extra uniformed and plain-clothed personnel have been drafted in “but we can’t ever discount that someone won’t do something.”
Referring to the planned memorial concert outside Oslo Town Hall (Rådhusplassen), he said, “There’ll be a lot of people in a confined area. We never know what will happen. The arrangement is taking place near the quayside and people could fall into the water. We have to be prepared for unexpected events.”
Security officials reported they assess the risk of something occurring as low.
Police have advised members of the public to leave the car at home, and finding parking will be difficult. Leisure craft will be also barred from inner parts of Oslo harbour near the Town Hall.
Moreover, Tordenskiolds gate, Rosenkrantz' gate, Roald Amundsens gate and Fridtjof Nansens plass will be closed for vehicles and pedestrians between Stortingsgata og Rådhusplassen, and police will only residents or their visitors past the barriers.
Transport company Ruter has stated it will lay on extra trams and buses, but passengers are advised to allow extra time for their journey and buy tickets for their return travel in advance.
Tram number 12 will be diverted from Rådhusplassen via Nationaltheatret, and buses that normally stop at Vestbanen, Vika, and Klingenberg will instead have altered routes past the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Abelhaugen from 12:00 for the rest of Sunday. Bus numbers 70, 74, 80E, 81A, and 83 will also be affected around Rådhusplassen and Nationaltheatret.
Underground passengers should choose to use Stortinget or Jernbanetorget following the concert, scheduled to start at 20:00 and end at 21:30.
According to broadcaster NRK, artists Bjørn Eidsvåg, deLillos, Karpe Diem, the NRK orchestra, Laleh, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Mari Boine, Marit Larsen, Tine Ting Helseth, and Vinni and Halvdan Siversten are set to perform at the concert. Authors Frode Grytten, Karl Ove Knausgård, and Åsne Seierstad also join the line-up. HRH Crown Prince Haakon will be attending too.
Bruce Springsteen, who is currently on world tour with ‘Lilyhammer’ star and fellow musician Stephen Van Zandt, will be playing at Oslo’s Valle Hovin and Bergen’s Koengen on 21st, 23rd, and 24th July, respectively.
Despite him saying earlier that he wants to appear at a memorial event, rumours as to whether he will be appearing at Sunday’s concert in Oslo remain just that, however.
Police had issued an oral confirmation to TV2 earlier this week. NRK communication director Tommy Hansen has since refuted this, saying, “the police have not substantiated there will be a concert [with him], and we can’t say any more either.”
“We’re nowhere nearer a confirmation than we were earlier in the week, simply because we have no further information,” Mr Hansen added.
Meanwhile, as far as the Bergen concerts are concerned, couple 60-year-old Sigmund Larsen and Elin Stølen, 59, from Nordfjord, western Norway, have spent the last week rowing all the way in a 70 to 80-year-old wooden boat to see ‘The Boss’.
“It’s going to be this summer’s big occasion! We’ve experienced all kinds of weather, everything from sun and nice weather to gales whilst travelling over Sognesjøen. That was challenging,” Sigmund told Bergens Tidende.
Coinciding with the Oslo memorial, however, the controversial “Utoya Island” film will be premiering on Sunday at the Cedar Lee Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Entertainment website valley24.com reports this screening of director Vitaliy Versace’s film will not be open to the public.
Labour Youth (AUF) member Adrian Pracon, who survived the attack which left 69 dead and who testified at the recent trial, labelled the film “disgusting”. Other AUF members asked Norwegian police for help to get the YouTube trailer pulled, which attracted more than 254,000 views.
Mr Versace has said there will be another premiere in Los Angeles, but has not confirmed when this will take place.
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