Around 900 people showed up for the protest in the small town center, reported VG. The initiator of the protest Maren Weighing Rosvoll said that it just shows how the community in Verdal want safety for all here.
– Many would like to show today that it is wrong when Verdal is labeled as racist and violent, she said.
The incident has upset many in this North Norway town. On Saturday morning, 53-year-old Jacob Kuteh from Liberia was beaten up by three men in their 20s outside the home in its Verdal. He said the attack was racially motivated. 53-year-old ended up in hospital after the attack, but still participated in the torchlight.
– I still have headaches and some back pain. But it’s getting better, and I am so happy for this event, said Kuteh to NTB before the torchlight.
Jacob Kuteh maintain that one of the assailants said they do not like immigrants in Verdal. But torchlight show that most people in Verdal do not have problems with immigrants, says Kuteh, who has lived and worked in the town for ten years.
Norwegians are Sensitive to Racial Cases
In 2001, Norwegians had given an immediate reaction to a racially motivated murder in Oslo. In the case, a Norwegian-born Ghanaian boy was stabbed to death at Holmlia in Oslo just before midnight on January 26, 2001 by people from the Neo-Nazi group BootBoys.
Since the murder was motivated by racism, it mobilised large parts of the Norwegian population. Throughout the entire country, marches were organised to protest against the murder, with nearly 40,000 people participating in Oslo. In 2002, the Benjamin Prize was founded in Hermansen’s memory. It is awarded on January 27 every year.
Pop singer Michael Jackson dedicated his 2001 album Invincible to Benjamin Hermansen (and also to his own parents and grandmother). The reason for this has partly to do with the fact that the Holmlia boy Omer Bhatti and Jackson were close friends, and Bhatti was at the same time a good friend of Benjamin Hermansen. On the album cover, next to the image of a rose, it reads:
Michael Jackson gives “special thanks”:
«This album is dedicated to Benjamin ‘Benny’ Hermansen. May we continue to remember not to judge man by the color of his skin, but the content of his Character. Benjamin … we love you … may you rest in peace.»
Photos from Verdal Protest
— Terje Næss (@teerjee) February 20, 2014
Tusen takk, alle som møtte opp på fakkeltog i Verdal i kveld. Det ble en flott markering! pic.twitter.com/BcyWUW0xBn
— Norsk Folkehjelp (@norskfolkehjelp) February 20, 2014