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Police criticized for harsh treatment of protesters

The Icelandic police is currently under fire for alleged harsh treatment of protesters near the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam project in eastern Iceland. Protests have been ongoing since early July and have for the most part been peaceful. Since the beginning of August, reports have surfaced of more severe actions than before on the parts of protesters, including blocking routes for the movement of heavy machinery. Protestors claim that police have responded with unwarranted harshness. Last weekend the group, which counts some 50 individuals of all nationalities, was broken up by police and protestors made to leave the site where they had set up camp.

Meanwhile, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) showed footage on yesterday evening’s national news, where the Head of Police in Egilsstadir, east Iceland, shoves a cameraman who was filming protesters and police on police premises in Egilsstadir. The police officer later admitted to having been out of line. The same news hour showed an interview with Álfheidur Ingadóttir, who sits on the board of the National Power Company (Landsvirkjun), in which she voiced her anger at having been kept under surveillance by police authorities while hiking through the Kárahnjúkar area recently. The area, which is set to go under water this September when a reservoir is created to feed the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam, has been visited by a vast number of tourists this summer.

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