Nobel disruption

Asylum seeker disrupts Nobel 2014 ceremony, police apologize

Photo: Russell Watkins / Department for International Development / Wikimedia  Malala Yousafzai.

Photo: Russell Watkins / Department for International Development / Wikimedia
Malala Yousafzai.

Sarah Bostock & Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

A man took to the stage at last week’s Nobel ceremony, interrupting events as Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were being awarded the 2014 Peace Prize.

The unknown person then came right up to the Nobel Laureates under the ceremony. He was holding a Mexican flag as he stood on stage for approximately 12 seconds with a camera hanging around his neck before security personnel escorted him away.

He was heard saying “please, Malala, they are killing us. Don’t forget Mexico!”

His Excellency Luiz Javier Campuzano Piña, Mexico’s ambassador to Norway, is not certain of the man’s motive. The Ambassador believes the person’s actions might be associated with the county-wide protests in Mexico, however. These protests came after corrupt officials kidnapped 43 Mexican student teachers and handed them over to a criminal gang called Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) in September.

“We are sorry and regret that the man disrupted the ceremony, but I possess understanding for the solidarity in the man’s message. He tried to show solidarity for the relatives and demanded justice for the killed student teachers. It was still not the correct place and way in which to do this,” His Excellency told NRK.

Security then led the man out of the hall, before holding him against a wall outside while he tried to explain about human rights. Police then removed him from the area.

According to head of staff at Oslo police, Johan Fredriksen, the unidentified man had gotten in by following “after others who had passed the checkpoint, and not been detected by those responsible for checking names and identification.” He had also passed through the subsequent security arch, and his items had been x-rayed. These were a camera, mobile phone, and key ring.

Police in Oslo believe the man is a medical student from Mexico. He had applied for asylum in Norway just yesterday.

Oslo District Police’s Rune Bjørsvik told reporters immediately after the incident that it “isn’t a security breach because there was a flag.”

“At the same time, it’s an undesirable event that doesn’t look good, so the police don’t like it.” Officers later referred to it as a failure in their routines, apologizing for the security breach.

The ceremony continued without a hitch. Malala, who spoke after other Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, thanked her friends, family, and supporters. She also paid tribute to her father. “Thank you for not clipping my wings, for letting me fly,” she said.

The 17-year-old, the first Pakistani and youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has said that she would like to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister. She has vowed to continue to fight for the educational rights of girls around the world.

“Why is it countries we call strong, powerful, are so weak in creating peace? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard?” Malala asked toward the end of her speech.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit

It also appeared in the Dec. 19, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.