Faced with terror in Oslo: The aftermath

It’s been four days since Friday’s terrorist attacks. A lone neo-Nazi targeted Norwegian government buildings by detonating a van bomb in central Oslo, just 500 metres from where I was stood, and then travelled to the island of Utøya, where he murdered dozens of young people attending a summer camp.

I’m in the city to help relocate our offices here, as we are moving to a new location 5km away. I worked all day there on Saturday and then spent Sunday visiting the Holmenkollbakken ski jump, as I was keen to see some sights while staying away from the recovery operation in the city centre.

Yesterday after work I explored the Vigeland Sculpture Park but tonight I’m finally heading in to the heart of the city for the first time since the attacks. The mood is naturally sombre as I walk up to the edge of the police perimeter and witness devastation over several blocks.

Scenes of destruction

I am struck by how many people are on the streets tonight to be a part of this moment of national mourning, many in shock and others (myself included) just trying to comprehend what has happened.

Within the police cordon, and even to some extent outside of it, shattered glass and tangled metal fill most window frames, although I am impressed by how many buildings have already been boarded up.

Outpouring of grief

There are flowers and flags everywhere, with makeshift memorials popping up all around the city. A particularly powerful line of flowers has been laid all the way along Karl Johans gate, while the largest shrine is in front of the cathedral, where a special remembrance service was held yesterday.

Meanwhile, statues and other landmarks across the city have been decorated with flowers, after 200,000 people attended a flower vigil yesterday.

Eight people were killed in the Oslo explosion and over 200 more were injured, while the terrorist shot 69 others on the island of Utøya a few hours later. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and everyone else affected by the events in Norway last Friday.

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