Two special forces officers will be working the Þjóðhátíð Festival in the Vestmannaeyjar islands this weekend, RÚV reports. Þjóðhátið í Eyjum is a yearly festival which takes place on the Vestmannaeyjar islands in South Iceland and the largest outdoor festival that occurs over the so-called Merchants’ Weekend. It is estimated that 15,000 visitors will be present on Sunday evening, when the festival reaches peak attendance.
The presence of special forces at the festival was confirmed by Jóhannes Ólafsson, supervising police officer in the Westman Islands, in a conversation with RÚV. The officers will be present at the request of the police chief in the Vestmannaeyjar islands.
A debate arose following the appearance of special forces at The Color Run in downtown Reykjavík earlier this summer. One week later, on June 17th, two to four special forces officers with visible Glock-17 pistols were seen at the National Day of Iceland celebrations. Haraldur Johannessen, the National Police Commissioner, told RÚV earlier this summer that the Vestmannaeyjar islands police chief had repeatedly requested special forces to assist in law enforcement during the festival.
Jóhannes states that this will be the first time in three years that special forces will be working at the festival. They have, however, been present at the festival in previous years – one year, for example, four special forces officers were present.
Guðmundur Ómar Þráinsson, head of special forces, was not reachable at the time of publication.