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Photo: Westman Islands.

Special Forces to be Present at Westman Islands Festival

Two officers from Iceland’s special forces unit will be present at the Þjóðhátíð Festival in the Westman Islands this weekend, RÚV reports. This was confirmed by police commissioner Haraldur Johannessen in a written response to questions submitted to him by the press.

Þjóðhátíð is the largest festival taking place over Merchant’s Weekend. It’s estimated that 15,000 people will be present at the height of festivities. The festival has come under scrutiny in recent years over the number of sexual assaults that were reported as taking place there, and received criticism over how local law enforcement has responded to these incidents.

The police chief in the Westman Islands specifically requested that members of special forces attend the festival this year, but officers from this unit will not be present at any other celebrations or festivals taking place over the coming Merchant’s Weekend holiday. Two members of special forces were also present at last year’s Þjóðhátíð Festival, for the first time in three years.

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