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LGBT solidarity march in Norway for canceled Pride parade

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HELSINKI (AP) — Hundreds of people marched through the Norwegian capital on Saturday in an LBGT solidarity event to honor the Pride parade that was canceled in June after a deadly shooting outside a popular gay bar.

Marchers in “The Rainbow Train” passed the central Oslo nightlife district where a man identified as Zaniar Matapour shot and killed two men and injured several others outside the London Pub on June 25, just hours before the planned start of the Pride parade.

Norwegian citizen Matapour is being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism. His motive for the shooting remains unclear but police say hate crime is a possibility.

Organizers stressed the event Saturday wasn’t meant to be a substitute for the original Pride parade but rather a show of solidarity to Norway’s LBGT community.

“It is absolutely fantastic," Oslo Pride spokesman Dan Bjoerke told Norwegian news agency NTB. “There is a sea of ​​people who will show everyone that it is love that wins. We must have diversity, we must have a society where people can be allowed to be themselves without fear.”

Prime Minister Jan Stoere Gahr was among the several Norwegian politicians who took part.

“We are taking back the streets. It’s not the Pride parade we had planned for June but this is a celebration that is important for people to be able to express these important values,” Stoere told NTB.

Saturday’s event culminated in a concert in Oslo.

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