Thousands of people gathered at 5pm Friday evening at Sergel Square in central Stockholm to participate in a candle ceremony in commemoration of the victims from last week’s terror attacks in Norway.
Many carried red roses and a few brought Norwegian flags.
A minute silence hushed the crowd in honour of the more than 70 victims who were killed in the attack on government headquarters in Oslo and at the youth political camp on the nearby island of Utöya.
Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and former Social Democratic party leaders, Mona Sahlin and Ingvar Carlsson, took part in the memorial service.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who has been highly criticized for keeping too low a profile and not being emotional enough after the massacre, did not attend.
”The attack against the government building and the mass murder of Utöya were political acts. It was well thought-out and planned in minute detail, and it was a diabolical act,” Carlsson said during the event.
Mona Sahlin, former leader of the Social Democrats, also took part in the luminary ceremony.
”I know many of my friends’ children who were on Utöya and I just felt such despair. I’ve been there myself many times,” she said.
Sahlin mentioned the attacker’s, Anders Behring Breivik, manifesto.
”I have been threatened and hated on these right-wing websites for so many years. I see it really as a tribute – as those who hate democracy most, hate me, too. It is a receipt,” she said.
The Social Democrats’ former leader Ingvar Carlsson has also been to Utöya.
”I was there the first time in 1960. I have experienced the joy of being there and now to see the pictures conveyed has been very heavy,” he said.
He added that it’s important for the Young AUF to build Utöya again.
”One should not give up Utöya after the terrible attacks, but they will need strong support,” said Christian Antoni Möllerop, Vice Chair of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Riksförbundet för homosexuellas, bisexuellas och transpersoners rättigheter, RFSL), who also attended the memorial service at Sergel Square.
He said he feels himself as one of those killed on Utöya.
”Unfortunately one of those with whom I’ve worked a long time with during my time as an activist for RFSL’s sister organization in Norway, died on Utöya.”
He said it is too early and too difficult to describe his feelings about what happened.
”There is still mourning and there are many questions that remain unanswered. Now it is important that we join together and try to look ahead,” Möllerop added.
Ella Coogan, 20-years-old from Stockholm, came to participate in the memorial light ceremony at Sergel Square.
”I am here to honour the children and young people who were killed in Norway,” she told the TT news agency.
She also attended the memorial service at the Norwegian Embassy in Stockholm last Saturday and says she has thought a lot about what happened the last few days.
Coogan is active with Ung Vänster (UV), the youth organization of the Swedish Left Party (Vänsterpartiet, VP).
”I hope that this does not mean that young people are afraid to get involved, but that they feel it’s more important to be active.”
During Friday’s commemorative light ceremony, representatives from five of the parliamentary youth parties were present and spoke a few words while lighting a candle.
Representatives from the Green Youth (Grön Ungdom, GU) and LUF, Liberal Youth of Sweden (Liberala ungdomsförbundet ) could not attend.
Members from Sweden Democrats’ youth organization (Sveriges Socialdemokratiska Ungdomsförbund, SSU) were not invited