Hundreds of Holmlia residents gathered on Friday night to protest against both violence, and negative mentions of their neighbourhood.
Amanda Anvar, 16, was on her way home from recreational activity when a man in his 20s was shot at Holmlia in Oslo last week. Only good fortune caused her not to be on the spot. On Friday, she talked warmly about her home.
“We won’t accept that anyone takes away our safety. We should not accept that children are being misled into criminal environments”, she thundered,and was loudly applauded by the Blendahvite Assembly at Holmlia tori.
She spoke of “cowardly adults” who use children as runners and “create problems in Holmlia”. She called for better leisure facilities, and visible police to fight the gang problems.
“We Holmlia youth have nothing to lose!” she declared.
Enough is enough!
Friday’s meeting came about after several violent episodes in the past six months. It addressed the violence, but also the perception of Holmlia as a bad place to live, explained Johan Hake, one of the three behind the gathering.
“We really do not want anything but to say to those who want to listen, and to ourselves that enough is enough. We do not accept Holmlia’s description from the outside. We do not accept people shooting at each other on the open streets. We must find a way out of this disaster, along with politicians and the police,” Hake told NTB news.
Hake explained that local forces had mobilised to “lift” Holmlia after NRK reporter, Anders Magnus’ show about gang crime in Oslo east last spring. At the same time, there have been several serious violent episodes in the area in the past six months. On Wednesday last week, a man was hit by several gun shots.
“It happens right outside on our own streets. We need to talk to our children about what to do if they hear shooting. That’s unacceptable,” said Hake.
The cultured community
At the popular meeting, both Justice Minister, Sylvi Listhaug, City Council leader, Raymond Johansen, and police officers arrived in the district. A sharp exchangeof words between Listhaug and opponents stole much of the attention. Friday was the culmination of kindness and community that has grown. A children’s choir sang “We are na-na-neighbours”. Friday’s mark was more “internal medicine” for people living in Holmlia, explained Hake.
However, some outside visitors were invited. Among them was parliamentary representative, Kari Elisabeth Kaski of the Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV).
“Holmlia must also be prioritised even on days when there is no shooting and car fires.There is a need for long-term attention from politicians”, she told NTB news.
The so-called “Tøyen Promise” was criticised for not reaching young people and
families who actually need a boost the most. Kaski has the following recipe on how to avoid the same when Holmlia is to be lifted out of the doldrums:
“You must involve the locals. There are few communities where there is so much commitment to the place they live, and the desire here to contribute is enormously strong. We can not lift the area without the people living here setting the premise, and pointing out what kind of needs there are”.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today