3:32pm: Here’s a summary of today’s proceedings.
• A detailed, graphic account given by Anders Behring Breivik of his killing spree on the island of Utøya, which left 69 people dead on 22 July last year, provoked the most emotional scenes of the trial so far. Many listened with tears in their eyes, with lawyers and journalists also visibly moved. Many Norwegians came down to the court building to leave flowers. Breivik described shooting teenagers who were paralysed with fear and taking shots at others “playing dead” on the floor when he could tell they were still alive.
• The defendant told the court he would not have gone to Utøya if the bomb attack on the government quarter had caused the building to collapse. Breivik claimed that if he had perceived the bombing to be a success, he would have driven to the police station and surrendered. The bomb killed eight people.
• Breivik denied having contact with the English Defence League (EDL), the anti-Islamist network formed in Britain in 2009. He admitted he had posted on internet forums “linked to the EDL” and had traded messages with an EDL member on one such website. But he insisted: “I have never had contact with the English Defence League.” Previously, Breivik has written of having strong links with the EDL, saying he had met its leaders and had 600 EDL members as Facebook friends. Some EDL sources said Breivik had met some of its leaders but the leaders themselves and the party deny this.
• The accused described himself as a “nice person, sympathetic” who was “quite normal up until 2006 when I started training”. He also denied that he was racist, insisting he was fighting against anti-European racism carried out by “the Norwegian media and the Marxist elites”. He said: “I am not a racist. I am an anti-racist.”
• Breivik said he had chosen not to empathise with the those whose lives he had ruined as a self-preservation technique. He compared his preparation with that of soldiers going to war. Asked how he was able to talk about the atrocities in such an impassive manner, Breivik said he had learned to rely on “technical, de-emotionalised language” — “if I was going to use normalised language it would not have been possible” to go through police interviews and the trial.
3.10pm: The Guardian’s Helen Pidd, in court, in Oslo, describes Breivik’s testimony and the impact it had:
Before Breivik began his account of what happened on Utoya, he warned the courtroom that people should consider leaving because much of what he was about to say was “horrendous”. He wasn’t wrong. In 90 minutes of uninterrupted testimony, the 33-year-old described the island massacre from the moment he tricked his way on to the ferry over, dressed as a policeman, to when he was finally arrested.
Few people left the courtroom as he gave evidence, but there were tears in the eyes of many listening to his account. Lawyers bit their lips. The parents of some of the children killed held each other tight. Experienced journalists said they were finding it difficult to keep it together and that they had never heard anything as terrible. Outside, there were reports that many Norwegians had come spontaneously down to the court building to leave flowers.
The 33-year-old described shooting teenagers who were paralysed with fear, taking shots at others “playing dead” on the floor when he could tell they were still alive. With dozens already dead, he stalked the island in search of “the sort of places I would hide” and shot dead children he spotted trying to make themselves invisible, pressing themselves up against a cliff.
3.08pm: The court has now adjourned for the day after terrible, harrowing testimony from Breivik in which he gave a detailed, graphic account of his killing spree on Utøya, which left 69 people dead.
2.59pm: Breivik is now being questioned by the prosecution. How must the bereaved relatives and survivors feel when they hear the man responsible describe events on Utøya as horrible, as he denies laughing during his killing spree?
Here is a live stream of Breivik’s court trial in progress:
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