Scuffle at Austurvöllur at Protest for Asylum Seekers

The scuffle took place at Austurvöllur square, pictured above.

Update at 19:28. The Police pepper sprayed a number of protesters, and at least two have been arrested, according to Mbl.is. The Police say the scuffle started when protesters started building a pyre with cardboard and pallets. The protesters have left Austurvöllur square, walking up Laugavegur street with Police officers following the parade.

A scuffle ensued as the Police stopped protesters from putting up a tent at a pro-asylum seekers protest. The scuffle was short and part of the Police force left shortly after with two protesters’ tents in hand. The protest takes place at Austurvöllur in front of Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament.

The protest was planned by the Facebook page Refugees in Iceland. Today’s protest is the fourth one to take place this month. The group is demanding a meeting with the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister. So far they have received no response.

The protest’s Facebook event.

Text is taken from the event:

On Monday, the 11th of March, Refugees in Iceland call for the fourth protest in one month period. The protest will be in Austurvöllur at 15:00.

Over two weeks ago, we sent a letter with the help of the Red Cross and asked for a meeting with the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Welfare and The Directorate of Immigration. In that meeting we would like to discuss the inhumane conditions that we as refugees under the Dublin Regulation live with, as well as making our five demands clear:

1. No more deportations
2. Substantial review for everyone. No more Dublin Regulation
3. The right to work
4. Equal access to health care
5. Closing down of the isolated refugee camp in Ásbrú

Instead of answering our request for a meeting, Sigríður Á Andersen the Minister of Justice, has announced that along with other changes she would like to make the Dublin Regulation even more strict, as well as preventing refugees from getting a family reunification. If this goes through it would without no doubt make the asylum seeking process even more unbearable than it already is.

In the past month, we have stood united as refugees and tried to make our voices heard so that we may claim our rights as human beings on this earth.

To Icelanders and other people with residency we ask: Show us solidarity by joining us in Austurvöllur on Monday, listen to our demands and help us make the authorities listen as well.

 

The protest will continue today as around 50 people will stay. Organizers have asked for people to bring warm clothes, blankets, and tents. Food will be served at 19:00 and people are encouraged to bring instruments.

Road Between Vík and Hvolsvöllur Closed Due to Storm

Ring Road South Iceland
The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration have closed the road between Hvolsvöllur and Vík due to a storm. The road will be closed until weather conditions allow a re-opening. It’s also planned to close the roads in Skeiðarársandur and Öræfasveit district at 20:00 tonight.

An orange warning has been put in place in South Iceland. Winds speeds are expected to rise up to violent storm level, that is up to 28-30 m/s, between 15:00 and 16:00 east of Hvolsvöllur and Seljalandsfoss. Similar wind speeds will be reached farther East by 18:00 on the main road between Lómagnúpur and Jökulsárlón. The warning is valid until tomorrow morning.

The most severe wind in the country was measured at 32,6 metres per second in Stórhöfði, Vestmannaeyjar. That wind speed is considered a violent storm, and right below hurricane level winds, according to the Beaufort scale which measures wind speed.
An orange weather alert is in force in South Iceland, South-East Iceland as well as the Highlands. A yellow weather warning alert has been released for North-East Iceland, as well as parts of East Iceland. The alerts will last until tomorrow morning. For further information about the weather alerts – head to https://en.vedur.is/alerts
For further information contact the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration at http://www.road.is or call 1777.

 

Changing Lanes, Part 1: The Future of Urban Planning in Reykjavík

Anna María Bogadóttir, architect.

Reykjavík is a city still finding its feet. It’s unique in many ways, pencilled onto a peninsula that stretches westwards into the Atlantic Ocean towards Greenland. Far from a populous metropolis, its surface area nevertheless stretches further than its meagre population would suggest. It offers closeness to nature, along with clean air, water, and energy. Still, there’s an airport right in the city centre. But changes are afoot in the city.

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Series of Workers’ Strikes Looming

hotel workers strike Reykjavík

Dozens of strike actions among bus drivers, hotel workers, and other workers in tourism are on the horizon in the Reykjavík capital area. Bus drivers voted 92% in favour of strike measures last weekend. Led by Efling Union, six separate strikes lasting 1-3 days are planned over the next several weeks, as well as seven work-to-rule measures affecting workers in the aforementioned industries. A general strike will begin on May 1 unless labour unions and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) reach an agreement first.

Upcoming strikes

Efling Union has two types of strikes planned: traditional work stoppages and work restrictions. Work stoppages will take place from midnight to midnight on the following days:

March 22 (1 day)

March 28-29 (2 days)

April 3-5 (3 days)

April 9-11 (3 days)

April 15-17 (3 days)

April 23-25 (3 days)

May 1 (until the strike is called off)

The following work restrictions apply to bus drivers:

March 18 through April 30: Work to rule strike

March 23 through April 30: No checking of tickets or counting of passengers

April 6 through April 30: No work before noon

For hotel workers, the following restrictions apply:

March 18 through April 30: Work to rule strike

March 23 through April 30: No cleaning of toilets or common areas

March 30 through April 30: No cleaning of rooms where guests have not checked out and no serving of breakfast

April 26 through April 30: No laundry service

Efling provides a list of hotels affected by the strike actions on their website.

SA takes Efling to court again

SA plans to take Efling Union to the Labour Court over the proposed strike actions. The confederation says the legality of the strikes is questionable, particularly in the case of work restrictions. “A strike is about not showing up to work and not receiving wages. [In Efling’s planned work restrictions] you have to show up to work, not do your whole job, and still receive wages. This is a sharp and poorly defensible understanding of the application and development of traditional strike rights.”

Efling’s executive director Viðar Þorsteinnson says the union had already reduced their demands before negotiations fell apart. “Of course everyone here wants to reach an agreement but it has to be acceptable to people and the people with the lowest income here, in our community, must be able to live off their salaries.”