OSLO, Norway — They gathered by the tens of thousands, aiming to face down terror with the power of music.
Inspired by a Facebook-organized protest, Norwegians flocked to public squares across the country Thursday, ignored the drenching rain and lifted their voices in song.
Their target: far-right fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, on trial for a bombing-and-shooting rampage that killed 77 people. Their weapon: a children's tune he claims has been used to brainwash the country's youth into supporting immigration.
Defiant sing-alongs of Children of the Rainbow were staged in Oslo and other major Norwegian cities, while in court survivors of Breivik's attacks gave tearful testimony in the ninth day of his trial.
In downtown Oslo alone, about 40,000 people chimed in as Norwegian artist Lillebjoern Nilsen played the song — a Norwegian version of American folk music singer Pete Seeger's My Rainbow Race.
They sang the Norwegian lyrics:
"A sky full of stars, blue sea as far as you can see
An Earth where flowers grow, can you wish for more?
Together shall we live, every sister, brother, you and me
Young children of the rainbow, a fertile land and seashore."
In testimony last week, Breivik mentioned the tune as an example of how he believes "cultural Marxists" have infiltrated Norwegian schools and weakened its society.
Later, the crowd marched to the Oslo courthouse, where they laid a carpet of red and white roses on the steps and the fence.
Reached at home in Beacon, N.Y., the 92-year-old Seeger told the Associated Press he had heard about the mass gathering from Nilsen, who called him Thursday morning.
"I said, 'Oh that's wonderful,' " Seeger said. "It's a tremendous honor, really."
Breivik has admitted setting off a bomb on July 22 outside the government headquarters that killed eight people, and then shooting to death 69 others, mostly teenagers, at the Labor Party's annual youth camp on Utoya island.
Shocked by Breivik's lack of remorse, Norwegians by and large decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes. Instead of raging against the gunman, they have manifested their support for tolerance and democracy.