Bruce Springsteen tells Utoya survivors: we shall overcome
BRUCE Springsteen provided a moving close to Norway's first anniversary of its worst atrocity since the Second World War, when he sung "We Shall Overcome" to a crowd of more than 60,000 Norwegians in Oslo's City Square.
US rocker Bruce Springsteen provided a moving close to Norway's first anniversary of its worst atrocity since the Second World War, when he sung "We Shall Overcome" to a crowd of more than 60,000 Norwegians in Oslo's City Square.
Springsteen's appearance had not been confirmed until the moment he bounded onto the stage at a quarter past nine, alongside E-Street Band member Steve Van Zandt. The pair performed two shows with the E Street Band in the RDS last week, hailed by many as the best concerts of the summer.
The concert was the final part of a programme of wreath-layings, church ceremonies, memorials and concerts held across Norway on to remember the 77 victims of the terror attacks carried out last year by far-Right extreme Anders Behring Breivik.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of survivors returned to Utoya island, 23 miles outside Oslo, where Breivik killed 69 people at a Labour party youth camp.
“A lot of people were crying,” said Per Kristian Rokkum Berget, one of the survivors. “Wherever someone had been killed they laid down roses and candles and a card to say that here a person died. So when someone found a place with someone they knew, of course, they cried.”
The memorial day started with a wreath-laying at the government building where Breivik detonated a bomb last July, killing eight people. A memorial service was then held in Oslo Cathedral, attended by more than 900 people.
On Utoya, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg warned that Norway had been too complacent about extreme ideologies before the attacks.
“For a long time we have neglected extremism and these thoughts full of hate," he said. "We can’t close our eyes to them any more. We should counter blind hate with argument and education.”
At 6.45pm, around the time the arrival of the police brought Breivik's massacre to an end, the families of the dead gathered on the island released flowers in the water and Chinese lanterns into the air.
"Steve and I are honoured to be included here to night," Springsteen told the crowd. "For all of us who love democracy and tolerance, it's an international tragedy."