Students from capital area elementary schools gathered outside Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, on Austurvöllur square today to protest on behalf of Palestine. In a speech delivered by the organisers, the children demanded support from the Icelandic government for the Palestinian people.
Children from the lower secondary school Hagaskóli spearheaded the protest, encouraging students to leave class at 10:30 and assemble. They were inspired from visiting the protest camp on Austurvöllur earlier this year. Most of the Palestinian protesters who camped throughout January have family members who have been granted residence visas in Iceland on the basis of family reunification but are still stuck in Gaza.
Called for a ceasefire
“We’re protesting the genocide in Palestine,” organisers of the school strike said, according to Heimildin. “Authorities! Stop turning away people escaping genocide. Reunited families, like promised. Take a stance on the genocide, push for a ceasefire and a free Palestine in the international sphere. We, Icelandic students, object to Iceland being complicit in genocide.”
The children made five demands to the Icelandic authorities, calling for reunification of Palestinian families who hold Icelandic visas, supporting Palestinian refugees, taking a stance against genocide, meeting with Palestinian protesters, and pushing for ceasefire and peace on the international stage.
“This is a genocide and nothing is being done about it,” Arnaldur Árnason, a student in Tjarnarskóli said, adding that he thought it was strange that Israel was allowed to compete in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and that Iceland should pull out in protest. “Russia was not allowed to participate, but Israel is still allowed to compete. It’s disgusting. I don’t understand how this is allowed.”