Hundreds gathered inside Reykjavík City Hall yesterday to protest the inauguration of the new mayor, Ólafur F. Magnússon of the Liberal Party, and the abrupt termination of the outgoing multi-partisan coalition in Reykjavík City Council.
According to Morgunbladid, the protestors consisted mainly of young people from the Social Democrats, Left-Greens, and Progressive parties, as well as the supporters of Margrét Sverrisdóttir, an independent councilmember who serves as proxy for Magnússon, but does not support his decision in forming a new majority with the Independence Party.
“Today, there should have been elections in Reykjavík,” outgoing Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson of the Social Democrats said in his opening speech to a cheering crowd. When Magnússon was inaugurated shortly before 1 pm, hell broke lose.
The protesters shouted violently, carried banners saying “stop it” and “our Reykjavík.” City Council chairman Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir rang her bell again and again, saying that if people would not calm down, she would have the hall forcefully evacuated. Police officers were already waiting outside the City Hall.
Kristjánsdóttir, a member of the Independence Party, then decided to take a one-hour recess while City Hall was cleared. The police officers entered the hall, but there was no need for them to intervene.
“It is tragic to see such a small group of people demonstrating such poor behavior by standing in the way of democratic methods,” former and prospective Mayor of Reykjavík, Vilhjálmur Th. Vilhjálmsson of the Independence Party, told reporters during the recession, DV reports. He will replace Magnússon as mayor after one year.
“What did they expect? People cannot just sit at home and not say anything,” Lísa Kristjánsdóttir, a Left-Green protestor, told Fréttabladid. She handed a list of 6,000 signatures to Vilhjálmsson, all of whom were protesting the termination of the outgoing multi-partisan majority.
“They are young and angry people and that is precisely the way it should be,” managing director of the Social Democrats Mördur Árnason, who was present at the City Hall to observe, told DV. Left-Green MP Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir agreed. “It is pleasing to see the power in these youngsters who drag the older people with them into this fight.”
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