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NATO protest 1949
Ólafur K. Magnússon

Iceland’s Membership in NATO

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On March 30, 1949, a large crowd convened behind a school in central Reykjavík. They were protesting the government’s decision to join the North American Treaty Organi¬sation, then in its infancy. Once a sizeable throng had formed, the group marched on Alþingi, Iceland’s parliament. They were met by a group of NATO supporters who had surrounded the parliment building, in¬tending to defend it. A riot erupted between the two groups, who only dispersed after police deployed tear gas. Five days later, NATO was officially formed, with Iceland among its founding members.
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