Six Utøya terror attack survivors elected to the Norwegian parliament

Kamzy GunaratnamPhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB

Six Workers’ Youth League (AUF) members who survived the terrorist attack on Utøya on July 22 have been elected to the Norwegian parliament (Storting) for the Labor Party, the newspaper Vårt Land writes.

The six are Torbjørn Vereide from Sogn og Fjordane, Nils Kristen Sandtrøen from Hedmark, Kamzy Gunaratnam from Oslo, Elise Bjørnebekk-Waagen from Østfold, Eigil Knutsen from Hordaland, and Åsmund Aukrust from Akershus.

Vereide and Gunaratnam have been elected for the first time. Sandtrøen, Bjørnebekk-Waagen, and Knutsen enter their second term, while Aukrust, who was deputy chairman of the AUF in 2011, has been elected for the third time.

A total of 77 people were killed in the attacks on July 22, 2011, 69 of them at AUF’s summer camp on Utøya.

Around 8.5 years after the attack, one third of the survivors stated that they struggled with symptoms similar to, or on the verge of, PTSD. Almost half were afflicted with anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, while a third had been exposed to threats or hate speech.

Vereide told Vårt Land that he was afraid to continue with politics.

“But it is also difficult to quit. We who managed to survive (the attack) carry a sense of responsibility. It feels important to continue,” he said.

“You can build the walls and fences as high as you want. Those who want to attack us will always come over. If we are to stop hatred, we must instead build living democracies and work to give everyone meaningful lives,” Gunaratnam stated.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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