On Saturday there was yet again a demonstration against Israel's recent actions in the Gaza strip in the streets of Oslo. New this time was that children, wearing shirts drenched in fake blood, were used as a human shield to avoid violence. The attempt was futile though, and riots erupted at the end of the demonstration near the Israeli embassy.
On Thursday there had been another demonstration that resulted in what was later in the Norwegian press described as the worst street fights since the eighties in Norway. Apparently, a lot of demonstrators were provoked by opposition party leader Siv Jensen from the far-right Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp). She had pointed out in an interview on national television that Mads Gilbert, one of two Norwegian doctors helping Palestinians in a hospital in Gaza City and who has been used recently as one of very few sources of news from the Gaza strip, belongs to the Norwegian Maoist party Red (Rødt) and clearly has a political agenda. It is noteworthy that this doctor was not surprised by and even defended the 9/11 attacks because of US policies and the moral right of the suppressed to attack the US, but it should be added that he also regretted the attacks because of all the innocent victims. Nevertheless, pointing out the background of this questionable doctor who has been used as an authoritative source of news from the Gaza strip by virtually all Norwegian media for the last fews weeks was clearly, well, shall we say «disproportionate», and apparently a legitimate reason to throw stones at policemen, set fire to several garbage bins and ruin store windows in the center of Oslo Thursday night.
The Norwegian Palestine Committee didn't want a repeat of Thursday evening's riots, and therefore thought it would be a good idea to have some Palestine children at the front of the demonstration, hoping demonstrators would restrain from any violence. To add a bit of realism to the demonstration, the children wore shirts drenched in fake blood, but it could not be confirmed whether the committee also had considered adding a few adult men in black uniforms carrying some rocket launchers to the group. Anyway, even though there was no violence reported during the actual demonstration, but a group of demonstrators continued to walk to the Israeli embassy, and once again violence broke out in the streets of Oslo.
It's a strange thing, how many of these recent demonstrations for peace in the Middle East have ended in riots, not only in Norway but in the rest of Europe too. Norwegian newspapers noted that almost no ethnic Norwegians could be spotted in Saturday's demonstration, and during Thursday's demonstration two immigrant gangs were notably present among the demonstrators, which in fact was a risk factor for violence and a worry for police in its own right. Some commentators have already suggested that many of the immigrant youths have used the recent events in the Middle East simply as an excuse to attract some media attention again, the suggestion being that they therefore are to be excused and thrown some more money at.