Norway: Returning massacre site to idyllic camp daunting task

By Tony Paterson

Expunging the traces of mass murder is more difficult than might be imagined.

More than a fortnight after Anders Breivik's massacre on the Norwegian holiday island of Utoya, police and firemen are still struggling to clear up the mess the Muslim- and Labour Party-hating gunman left in his wake.

Hundreds of spent metal cartridges ejected by the killer's frightening assortment of automatic weapons are proving one of the biggest headaches. Police have been forced to use metal detectors to comb the paths and beaches where Breivik gunned down his 69 victims.

Getting rid of absolutely all the cartridge cases has become an issue of paramount importance.

"They are not the sort of thing people will want to stumble across on future visits to Utoya," a police spokesman said.

The idyllic wooded island, which lies some 600m offshore about 35 miles north-west of Oslo, was given to the Labour Party as a present by Norway's powerful trade unions shortly after World War II.

The island has since hosted annual summer camps for hundreds of budding young socialists. Many have gone on to join the country's ruling political elite.

Yet so far no one appears to have any idea how the site of the country's worst act of violence since World War II can continue to function as a happy holiday island.

Eskil Pedersen, the party's youth-wing leader, remains defiant: "We will be holding summer camps on Utoya again," he declares to young members on his website.

"I hope to see lots of you there," he adds.

- INDEPENDENT

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