Peaceful torchlight procession for peace in Oslo turns ugly

After work today there was a great and peaceful torchlight procession to express our disgust with the war in the Middle East. I was surprised to see so many people, and so little police. When pro-Israeli Christians had gathered outside the parliament building a little earlier today, the police used tear gas to fend off demonstrators. This also happened around the Israeli embassy and later this evening (some people harmed, buses put on fire, fireworks in the streets). But the torchlight procession was peaceful as far as I could see. And plentiful. I was amazed at ye multitude aging from cradle to retirement.

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Youngstorget at around 7pm

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Apparently more than 40,000 people showed up

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Better than a rock concert!

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Naturally the media played its part
Here they’re setting up an interview with lawyer Abid Raja

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The procession turned away from Karl Johan to avoid trouble, I guess

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There was simply no end to the torches
In the end we just had to go to save our fingers and toes from the cold

You can check out my youtube channel for some quick videos I shot: Overview of Youngstorget, Appeal from CARE leader, Appeal from Norwegian lawyer Abid Raja and half a minute silence.

This is the second demo I have ever been to, I think. I don’t particularly like demonstrations. I am dubious to what effect it has negatively; is this all we have to do to feel better? Can I feel better now? Cookie?
Also, there are way too many people in one small space for my liking, and a lot of them are taking pictures of me. Lady C on the other hand is trained demo militia.

This post is more important than it seems. Quite a few troublemakers made a mess out of downtown Oslo and took away our limelight as a peaceful torchlight procession. Not pro-Palestine or anti-Israeli. Simply an expression that enough is enough, and we want peace. There were less than five hundred of the troublemakers, 27 caught by police, and about forty thousand of us. Just saying. I trust the webz to do what Norwegian broadcasters should have done: show the facts.

There’s a lot of misplaced anger in Norwegian media right now, most of it from ignorant commentators. There was a pro-Israel demonstration at 5pm outside the parliament which supposedly went wrong. From the pictures I have seen they weren’t many. At 7pm there was a pro-Peace demo in support of the victims at Gaza at Youngstorget. That crowd gathered 40,000 people and we peacefully walked in a torchlight procession to the town hall. At around 9pm anti-Israel a minority of demonstrators went black jacket on the situation and headed for the Israeli embassy. The police had already closed down those roads so the clashes took part in downtown Oslo. We left the scene at around 9:15pm and most crowds had dissolved by then. Everything was peaceful at that time. There were only a few troublemakers who ruined the evening a bit later. Some websites and even Norwegian television (NRK, Dagbladet, VG, TV2) tries to distort the image that there were only two camps: 40,000 pro-Israeli white Norwegians that was being attacked by uncontrollable Arabic youth. This is simply not the truth. We had a peaceful demo of forty thousand people, and a minority of people (pro-Israel and anti-Israel) went to great lengths to provoke their opposite. They consist mainly of young, unemployed people from the region and old conservatives from all over the place. Does it really surprise you? The Pro-Israeli demo was conducted against better judgment, and the advice from the police. Arrogance breed ignorance.

But Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt breed racism.

Point I’m trying to make is that the media has gone from oversimplification to distortion of the facts. They are lying when they represent an Oslo with two fighting groups. Most of us just wanted to express our will to a peaceful solution in a peaceful manner. We just want peace. Today.

3 thoughts on “Peaceful torchlight procession for peace in Oslo turns ugly”

  1. Sjekk denne linken: http://www.dagbladet.no/kultur/2009/01/14/561795.html

    Jeg likte spesiellt delen: “I ettertid så jeg et tv-klipp av gråtende israelvenner som ble eskortert bort, mens de hulket «grusomt». Det blir fullstendig absurd når man tenker på hva de nettopp har demonstrert for.”

    Men nei, jeg er ikke for det som skjedde, langt ifra, men jeg kan forstå noen av handligene frustrerte folk kan gjøre når man føle seg så fette hjelpesløs. Alikevell vil jeg ikke rettferdig gjøre det. Så får media skrive det dem føle for.

  2. Den grusomme hulkingen var kanskje et resultat av at politiet tåkela Oslo sentrum med tåregass.
    Politiet var flinke til å takle situasjonen og sørge for at den ikke ble blåst ut av proporsjoner. My ass.

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