19 Apr 2012

Breivik drops far-right salute in court

9:45 pm on 19 April 2012

The man who killed 77 people in two attacks in Norway has told a court how he joined a gun club in 2010 as part of his preparations.

Anders Behring Breivik described using computer games to rehearse scenarios before he bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people and injuring 209.

The 33-year-old admits the car bombing and mass shooting at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya Island last July, but has denied criminal responsibility.

He says he carried out the attacks to defend "ethnic Norwegians" from rising multiculturalism.

The right-wing extremist had started each trial day this week with what he has described as a far-right "clenched-fist salute" after his handcuffs were removed.

But when arriving at the Oslo court on Thursday, he complied with a request from his lawyers not to make the salute after objections from survivors and victims' families.

Describing the car bombing, he said he expected the alarm to be raised and to "have to fight [his] way out" and estimated his chance of survival at 5%.

Breivik told court he had begun planning a "suicide action" as far back as 2006 and said violence was a tool to achieve an aim, the BBC reports. He said he had tried "all other alternatives" but "national conservatives" were censored by the Norwegian and European press.

During 2006 he said he spent the year playing the online role-play game World of Warcraft for up to 16 hours a day.

Breivik said he told his mother he was "going to allocate time to do what I wanted to do". He went on: "I couldn't tell my mother that I was taking a sabbatical because I was going to blow myself up in five years' time."

In other testimony, Anders Breivik said he joined the Masons as soon as he was old enough because they were a "Christian organisation that protects its members".

The court heard that Breivik formed a company in the Bahamas that he used as a front for money-laundering. The funds were intended for nationalist activities.