Members of the local government in Moss, Norway, have been the target of death threats on social media over a controversial railway development.
A post saying, “Kill them all!” was published under a thread discussing the local city government’s meeting regarding the railway development.
The statement was posted on the Facebook group BDM, created by the organisation “Better urban development Moss”. The group has over 6,500 likes.
The writer of the post, 40-year-old Moss Avis, claimed to have never wanted to scare anyone and has since apologised for the statement.
Mayor Hanne Tollerud reported the post to the police. In a statement she claims that other colleagues in Viken generally report threats and intimidating remarks to the police.
She said: “Social media is an important place for debates. But it is not acceptable with utterances that are threatening or intimidating. That doesn’t add anything to the debate, on the contrary, it subtracts.
“I can withstand and endure a lot. But there’s a limit.”
Chief officer Daniel Holm confirmed in a statement that they have started an investigation. He stated that they are looking at the entire thread on Facebook, to see if they have to question others in the case.
Former mayor of Moss and member of the Norwegian parliament Tage Pettersen is active on social media. He says that he received several threats when he was a mayor.
MP Pettersen sent an example of a threat he received three years ago, when he was Mayor of Moss.
The message, translated from Norwegian, said: “Politicians must be held accountable for the decisions they make. When I see the Mayor of Moss (I can’t even mention his name) grinning while cutting ribbons, I hope he one day will wrap them around his neck and that the scissors are too blunt.”
MP Pettersen said: “As politicians and social debaters, we will endure more than others. But when it is a threat targeting you or your loved ones, it should be reported.”
When asked about the possible consequences this can have on the democracy, MP Pettersen claimed that fewer people will want to be part of the democracy. He also stated that it will have a negative effect on debates and how to fight for issues one is concerned with.
He added: “The result of this is a decrease in social debate and the confidence in democracy.”