Terrorism researcher calls for better protection of Karl Johan

jobsKarl Johans gate. Photo Norway Today Media.

Terrorism researcher, Cato Hemmingby, believes physical barriers situated in Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans gate, could save human lives.


Hemmingby believes physical barriers should be considered in view of all the vehicle attacks that have been carried out in Europe. Last week, 14 people lost their lives and 126 were injured in two car attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

‘Pavements and parades are attractive targets for terrorists because of all the people there, so physical barriers that prevent or hinder vehicle attacks may be appropriate,’ he told NRK news.

The chief of police in Oslo, Hans Sverre Sjøvold, told NRK news on Friday that there is no physical protection of main thoroughfares like Karl Johan, in order to prevent similar attacks in Norway.

‘What we are facing now is a threat situation that is of a difficult nature to safeguard against,’ said Sjøvold.

Hemmingby said streets do not necessarily have to be blocked, but that barriers can be set up that reduce speed so that terrorists can’t drive at high speed through them.

He believes increased security measures and the forcing of terrorists to choose other targets will force more planning by the terrorists, which will increase the possibility that they make mistakes and are detected.

Hemmingsby is a researcher, and PhD student at the Oslo Police College, where he is currently researching terrorism, and target selection.

Some commentators have noted that in Europe, since the vehicle attacks began, 126 people have died and hundreds have been injured by the vans moving at high speed into crowds, but in none of the high resolution shots of the front of the vans is there a single spatter of blood to be seen on any of them.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today