Norway Bike Clubs Set Aside Differences To Honor Rampage Victims
A thousand bikers from rival Norwegian clubs struck an unprecedented truce July 26, 2011 to lay flowers on a shore facing the island where 68 youths perished in a crazed gun rampage.
"We've got Hell's Angels, Coffin Cheaters and Outlaws riding side-by-side out here tonight -- the first time these gangs have ever ridden together," biker Henrik Bauer Larsen told AFP International News on Lake Tyrifjorden, staring out on Utoeya island.
"These groups are not friends," Larsen said of the horn-tooting, leather-clad hordes on wheels. "Normally, they fight tough -- but we agreed there would be no politics here, that everyone would stand together. In each of these clubs, someone knew people hit on the island -- we just wanted to pay our respects to the victims and their families."
Holding the hand of his fellow-biker girlfriend, Larsen said 550 riders had come from the Norwegian Motorcycle Union, a big Harley Davidson crew that runs a convoy once a year to mark a major event.
Hundreds more joined from Bergen and other cities on equally-feted German or Japanese bikes.
"The truce won't last," Larsen admitted, "but even the police bikers wanted to join in when they saw Tommy's Facebook invitation on Facebook on Sunday," beckoning over his pal who had came up with the idea.
"They cleared our way from Oslo out to Sundvolden, and arranged for us to have space for the bikes out here so we could go down to the shore," added Tommy Hansen. "It's the biggest bike convoy in Nordic history. People have come from all over Scandinavia and people on their holidays have joined in on the road -- we just wanted to show our sympathy."
Another biker, Christian Andre Hellebergshaughen, a Harley-mad bike store-worker in Oslo, summed up the mood, saying everyone wanted "to pay our respects to the victims ... of this crazy, crazy man."
The riders had all learned how Anders Behring Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, described his client earlier in the day as "insane", in a clear hint at his line of defense should the case come to trial.
One woman, who sat pensively by herself on the shore watching a police mini-submarine maintain its search for those still "missing" in the high waters around Utoeya, said there might not be much point.
"Giving that man a platform from which to spread his manifesto of hate will achieve nothing -- whatever is decided, he will never be allowed back out into society," the woman, who declined to give her name, said after her pilgrimage.
Across the water, a mini-shrine has sprung up to the dead, where gut-wrenching pictures drawn by young children depict lost brothers and sisters in the water crying for help.