Save the Children cancels pride festival in Bergen after serious threats

Save the Children cancels pride festival in Bergen after serious threats
Save the Children cancels pride festival in Bergen after serious threats

Save the Children has received several threats of harassment and violence directed at the event in Nygårdsparken.

Head of Save the Children’s Norway programme, Monica Sydgård, says that Save the Children has canceled the event on its own initiative. Photo: Nora Lie / Save the Children
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Less than 2 hours ago

The children’s festival was to be held in Nygårdsparken in Bergen next Sunday.

Head of Save the Children’s Norway programme, Monica Sydgård, tells BT that Save the Children has received a number of threats directly against the event, both by e-mail and in social media. The threats come from several different people, she says.

– There are serious threats to appear at the event and harass and commit violence. So we have on an independent basis chosen to cancel this, she says.

– All events under the auspices of Redd Barna must be completely safe. We would not risk any children experiencing threats or violence. It is of course difficult to cancel, but it is a decision we had to make.

Never experienced anything like it before

Some of the threats have been reported to the police, and Save the Children has shared all documentation with the police, says Sydgård.

She is not aware that Redd Barna has received this type of threat against its events.

– We have not experienced this in Norway before, says Sydgård.

She says that Save the Children will participate in the Pride train later in June anyway, but that they have not yet planned a new event for children.

– We think that the threats that have come to Save the Children show how important it is to continue to stand up for the rights of children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. We know that they are more exposed to violence and bullying than others.

The police in Bergen say they will have a meeting about the case on Thursday morning.

Mayor of Bergen, Linn Kristin Engø, says she is deeply disappointed. Photo: Ørjan Deisz (archive)

Encourages to participate in parade

– This makes me furious! writes mayor Linn Kristin Engø in an email.

– Bergen must be a city for everyone. I am deeply disappointed that someone has sent threats in the direction of Save the Children. They took the initiative for a nice and important event for play and diversity for children. Making threats against a children’s festival is unbelievably low, she writes.

She encourages everyone to attend the parade next weekend.

– This shows that the fight for an inclusive and safe society for everyone is by no means over and that Pride is needed. I encourage everyone to show up in the parade to ring the queer community and show what kind of city we want.

Many turned up at a pride marking in Bergen last year, after the mass shooting in Oslo last year. Photo: Petronelle Halvorsen (archive)

Bergen Pride starts tomorrow, Friday 2 June, and will last for just over a week.

Secretary General Birgitte Lange says that some may consider this a victory.

– But Save the Children does not cancel the fight for a society where all children can be proud of their identity and be loved for who they are, says general secretary Birgitte Lange.

– Extremely sad

BT has been in contact with both the Prime Minister’s office, which says that Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Ap) is unavailable. BT has also requested a statement from Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp), so far without a response.

Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg is concerned about increased legitimization in social media of incitement against homosexuals.

– It is extremely sad. I am concerned about the increased legitimization we see in social media of incitement against homosexuals and other groups, says Solberg.

Conservative leader Erna Solberg says she is worried. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

Venstre’s Ingvild Wetrhus Thorsvik demands that Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp) get on the field.

– This is totally unacceptable. What’s wrong with people making threats against an event for children? This shows that we obviously have attitude problems in society on several levels, and the importance of pride is greater than ever, she tells NTB.

The Storting representative demands that the authorities ensure that such events are safe. She has sent a written question and demands an answer from the Minister of Justice.

– I expect the Minister of Justice to come to the scene and have a plan for how the Norwegian authorities will ensure that people can feel safe when they participate in pride events in the future, says Ingvild Wetrhus Thorsvik.


Published: June 1, 2023 09:16

Updated: June 1, 2023 10:58 am

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Save Children cancels pride festival Bergen threats


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