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Flowers left in tribute to the Utoya shootings in July. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis/PA Image

Norway massacre survivors watch suspected gunman's court appearance

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, appeared in court today as prosecutors pushed for an extension to his detention.

THE MAN WHO confessed to a mass shooting and bombing in which 77 people died in Norway in July has made his first public appearance in open court.

The Oslo court was packed for today’s hearing and those present included dozens of the survivors of the July attacks.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, began making a statement in court today in which he described himself as a resistance leader, before the judge interrupted and told him to focus on the issue before the court today – an extension to his detention.

Prosecutors were recently granted an eight-week extension to his solitary confinement while investigators continued to gather evidence. At an earlier detention hearing this summer, the judge acknowledged concerns that Breivik could interfere with the investigation if not held in isolation.

Today, prosecutors pushed for a further 12 week extension to his detention which would include restricted access to the media and visitors.

The judge granted the extension request, but some of the conditions of his confinement have been relaxed, according to the BBC.

Although Breivik’s previous appearances were behind closed doors, the judge today lifted a ban on reporting on today’s proceedings.

Breivik had told investigators early on that he had accomplices in both the bomb attack is Oslo city and the mass shooting on Utoya island, where a Labour Party youth camp was being held. However, police have since said that it is unlikely he had assistance.

Prosecutors believe Breivik sourced the fertiliser used in the explosion and disguised himself as a police officer before shooting 69 people dead on Utoya.

Breivik, who was arrested on Utoya, admitted to the attacks but denied criminal responsibility, saying he believed his actions were necessary to prevent Norway being subsumed by multiculturalism or Muslim extremists. A psychiatric evaluation will determine if he can be held criminally responsible and face trial.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Norway killer back on island for reconstruction >

Read: ‘He seemed like a normal, nice guy’: Irish friend of Norway killer speaks out >

Read: Irish-Norwegian massacre survivor to speak here on racism >

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