By Balazs Koranyi and Walter Gibbs
OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian anti-Islamic militant who massacred 77 people last summer arrived at an Oslo courthouse under armed guard on Monday, clenching his fist in a far-right salute and saying he did not recognize the authority of the judges.
Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has admitted setting off a car bomb that killed eight people at government headquarters in Oslo last July, then killing 69 in a shooting spree at a summer youth camp organized by the ruling Labour Party.
Breivik entered the court in handcuffs, which were taken off just before he was seated. He smirked several times as the cuffs were removed, put his right fist on his heart then extended his hand in salute.
"I do not recognize the Norwegian courts. You have received your mandate from political parties which support multiculturalism," Breivik told the court. "I do not acknowledge the authority of the court."
The "lone wolf" killer intends to deny criminal guilt, saying he was defending Norway against multiculturalism and Islam. The trial is scheduled to last 10 weeks, during which the court must rule on both his guilt, and his sanity.
More than 200 people took seats in the specially built Oslo courtroom while about 700 attack survivors and family members of victims watched on closed-circuit video around the country.
"Today the trial starts, and it will be a tough time for many," survivor Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, 28, said outside the courtroom. "Last time I saw him in person he we was shooting my friends."
Some Norwegians fear Breivik will succeed in making the trial, with about 800 journalists on hand, a platform for his anti-immigrant ideas. His defense team has called 29 witnesses, ranging from Islamists to right-wing bloggers, to shed light on his world view.
Breivik is scheduled to testify for about a week, starting on Tuesday.
BREIVIK CALLS COURT "CIRCUS"
"Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase," he wrote in a manual for future attackers, part of a 1,500-page manifesto he posted online.
"Your trial offers you a stage to the world."
In a recent letter seen by Norwegian newspaper VG, Breivik added: "The court case looks like it will be a circus ... it is an absolutely unique opportunity to explain the idea of (the manifesto) to the world."
Last July 22, he set off the bomb before heading to the youth camp on Utoeya island in a lake 40 km (25 miles) outside Oslo, gunning down his victims while police took an hour to get to the massacre site in the chaos following the blast. Continued...