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Norwegian gunman claims ‘self-defense’ for killing 77 people


Anders Behring Breivik went on a rampage killing 77 people in Norway last summer, claiming his actions were justified to save the country from multicultural forces. “I acknowledge the acts but do not plead guilty,” said Breivik to the court. His trial is expected to last up to 10 weeks, with the charges of voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror. He is accused of setting off a bomb in central Oslo that killed eight people. He then fatally shot 69 people at a youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party on nearby Utoya Island. “You would never think one person could do so much damage,” says sophomore Grace Jung. “Just goes to show that anything could happen, and one has to be careful with whom they surround themselves with.” Breivik says his rampage was meant to save Norway from being taken over by multicultural forces and to prevent ethnic cleansing of Norwegians, said his lawyer Geir Lippestad. In his statement, Breivik firmly protested against Muslim immigration and European liberalism, including the Labour Party, which he said was allowing the “Islamification of Europe.” “This is an unbelievably inhumane act of insanity, and the fact that he did it to essentially stop diversity for his crazy anti-Muslim cult is horribly offensive. I am Muslim, and this breaks my heart to hear,” says freshman Fatima Nakvi. “The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defense on behalf of my people, my city, my country,” Breivik said as he finished his statement, essentially a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. “I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges.” He claimed to be speaking as a commander of an anti-Islam militant group he called the Knights Templar — a group that prosecutors say does not exist. “I do not recognize the Norwegian court. You’ve gotten your mandate from political parties that support multiculturalism,” Breivik said. Prosecutors played a recording of a petrified girl calling for help during the shooting rampage, a recording interrupted by constant firing in the background. They also showed security camera surveillance of the central Oslo bomb blast that killed eight people, images that participants in the trial watched pale-faced. “He was so close to having a bullet between his eyes. The police were so close,” said Jorn Overby, who saved about 15 people from the waters off Utoya during the massacre. Overby told CNN that he owes Breivik only “a punch in the face for firing at me.” “He will get the treatment he needs,” Overby said. A survivor of Utoya Island, Tore Sinding Bekkedal, said he was surprised to experience a strange feeling of relief when prosecutors switched from listing the names of the dead to those of the wounded. “It was an intense gratitude,” Bekkedal said during a break in the proceedings. “It took me by surprise that I felt it, that these wonderful people are still among us, that we managed to save these ones at least.”

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