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Halonen calls for resistance to hatred

President Tarja Halonen says that now is the time to let Norwegians grieve for the victims of last Friday’s attacks. At the same time, this is the right moment to think of ways to prevent such a tragedy from striking any country again, according to Halonen.

Tasavallan presidentti Tarja Halonen. Image: YLE

The president said that this is the time both for political analysis and for contemplation of possible phenomena that must be nipped in the bud.

Halonen added that she considers racism, intolerance and various matters which beget hatred to be examples of such phenomena.

She pointed out that extremism, accompanied by the belief that principles justify violence, has always been a part of various movements.

Extreme right in Norway tragedy

“I think it can be clearly said that this was a movement born in the circles on the extreme right, but it could have occurred in any other part of the political spectrum,” Halonen said.

According to Halonen, increased interaction between people would go a long way towards curbing extremism.

She said that the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression are on one end of the scale, and the willingness to be tolerant of other people’s opinions is on the other.

“People’s right to their own opinions does not justify hurtful or violent behaviour towards others. There’s still much to do in the modern information society before this balance is found,” Halonen stated.

In favour of tightened gun laws

Gun legislation and other laws that have bearing on the matter should be further tightened so as to make access to them more difficult, according to Halonen.

She said that, if getting one’s hands on weapons was not so easy, there would likely be less violence.

Halonen also said that it is necessary to think of what can be done from the security prospective to protect democracy and open society without going overboard.

“More openness, more democracy, more interaction with each other,” listed Halonen what she sees as necessary at this time.

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