Protesters Stage Sit-In in Ministry Lobby for Third Day in a Row Skip to content
Asylum seeker protest Reykjavík

Protesters Stage Sit-In in Ministry Lobby for Third Day in a Row

A group of protesters from the activist group No Borders Iceland demonstrated in the lobby of the Ministry of Justice on Thursday afternoon, Vísir reports. This is the group’s third staged sit-in in as many days and as before, the protesters were carried out of the premises by police officers, who some protesters say used excessive force when removing them from the building.

As happened on both Monday and Tuesday, police were called to remove the protesters from where they sat in the Ministry of Justice’s lobby and chanted phrases such as “Start negotiations, no borders, no nations.” The group was directed to the Ministry by the Office of the Prime Minister but has not been able to secure a meeting there yet. As such, they have begun daily sit-ins in the Ministry’s lobby.

A video taken during the sit-in shows police entering the lobby and starting to pull apart protesters who were sitting on the floor. The two protesters on the end, including a young man named Bjarni Daníel, are dragged through the entrance by their arms and legs. After being removed from the lobby, the protesters resumed their demonstration outside the building, while police officers stood in front of the entrance. A photograph on Vísir shows Bjarni with visible bruising on his back after being carried out. “Yes, I was carried out rather roughly by the police,” he told reporters. He said he would be going to a local health clinic for an examination and then would decide whether or not to register a complaint with the police. At the time of the interview, at least, he did not think the injury was too severe. “It doesn’t look particularly good,” he said, “but I think I’m fine.”

Bjarni did note, however, that police used much more force during Thursday’s demonstration than they had on either of the previous days. “It’s as if they’re using more force now—like they’ve grown a bit tired of us.” He considers this unnecessary, particularly given that he did not fight back in any way while being removed.

Still, he wanted to refocus the discussion on his group’s primary concerns, i.e. deportations and treatment of asylum seekers. “This is nothing serious,” he said. “The point is not that I was subject to violence on this one occasion. That’s trivial in comparison to the violence that refugees have to live with every day.”

As of Thursday, No Borders had yet to secure a meeting with the Minister of Justice, Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir.

 

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