The trial of Anders Breivik was interrupted briefly today when the brother one of his 77 victims hurled a shoe at the mass killer and yelled, “Go to hell,” before being escorted from the court.
It was the first outburst from the normally subdued crowd watching the terror trial in Oslo’s district court since the proceedings began in mid-April.
Breivik – a self-styled, anti-Muslim militant – has been charged with terrorism, admitting he carried out a bomb-and-shooting rampage that stunned Norway on July 22.
Today, forensic experts were going through post mortem reports for some of the 69 victims killed in the shooting massacre at a youth camp that day, when a man in the second row suddenly stood up, said Mikaela Akerman, a Swedish journalist who was in the court room.
“He threw one of his shoes at the desk where Breivik sits with his defence lawyers,” said Ms Akerman. “He shouted, ’You killer, go to hell.’ And repeated it several times.”
She said Breivik remained calm and “smiled a little” as he watched security guards apprehend the man and lead him out of the court room.
“He keeps shouting and is crying heavily as he’s being led out,” Ms Akerman said. “Some of the spectators clapped their hands. Some yelled ’Bravo.’ Many others started crying.”
Breivik addressed the court as proceedings resumed after a 10-minute break. “If someone wants to throw something at me, you can do it when I walk in or when I leave, thank you,” he said, according to Ms Akerman.
Throwing of shoes to insult someone has long been a form of protest in many countries, but the practice gained widespread attention when an Iraqi threw his shoes at then-US President George W Bush at a televised news conference in Baghdad in 2008 during the Iraq war.
Police did not identify the shoe-thrower in Oslo but said he was the brother of one of the victims.
Police operations leader Rune Bjoersvik downplayed the outburst, calling it a “spontaneous and emotional reaction” that did not pose a “serious security risk”.
The incident was a sharp break with the polite atmosphere that has reigned inside the court room, even as Breivik explained his killing of 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting rampage on July 22.
The far-right fanatic has admitted to the attacks but denies terror charges, saying the victims were traitors for embracing multiculturalism.