Anders Behring Breivik. Photo credit: oslo politidistrikt
More than 40,000 Norwegians gathered in the rain in Oslo on Thursday to sing a children’s song calling for peace and brotherhood in a protest against admitted mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik.
Protesters linked arms and sang the song, Lillebjørn Nilsen’s “Children of the Rainbow”, a Norwegian version of “My Rainbow Race” by American folk singer Pete Seeger, near the courthouse where Breivik is on trial. He is accused of – and has admitted to, claiming “self-defence” – murdering 77 people during a rampage at a Labour Party youth camp on 22 July 2011.
During his testimony this week, the right-wing extremist denounced the song as Marxist, multiculturalist brainwashing. A self-described militant nationalist, Breivik complained that the Norwegian Labour’s party’s lenient immigration stance and promotion of multicultural values is undermining Norwegian society, adding, ““They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers.” Songs, evidently, like “Children of the Rainbow”.
A Facebook group quickly formed to plan a protest using the song as its vehicle.
Billy Bragg, English musician and activist, lauded the protesters for using this peaceful, children’s song to drown out Breivik’s hatred. “It’s not much of a protest song, to be truthful,” he wrote at The Guardian, noting that Nilsen had even toned down Seeger’s more outspoken protest. “Yet, even shorn of Pete’s righteous anger, Children of the Rainbow packs an emotional punch.”
The BBC’s report on the protest: