A group of Palestinians who have been protesting outside Iceland’s Parliament has received permission from the City of Reykjavík to continue camping in Austurvöllur square until January 17, Vísir reports. Most of the protesters have family members who have been granted residence visas in Iceland on the basis of family reunification but are still stuck in Gaza.
The group is calling on Icelandic authorities to do more to retrieve their family members from the strip, where over 30,000 people have been killed by Israeli attacks since October 7 and conditions are life-threatening.
Western countries have received refugees from Gaza
Naji Asar, who has been granted visas for 14 family members, including eight children, told Heimildin he cannot understand how it was easy to rescue 120 Icelanders who were in Israel on October 7 but not his family members. “If you don’t want to help, help me go back home,” he added. “I want to die with my family. I don’t want to die slowly.”
While Icelandic authorities say the Rafah border crossing between Palestine and Egypt is closed, a statement from the group of protestors points out that countries such as the UK, Canada, Germany, Norway, and Sweden received refugees from Gaza in December.
Three demands to Icelandic authorities
The group has made three demands of Icelandic authorities. Firstly, to carry out the family reunifications for which they have already granted visas. Secondly, a meeting with the Minster for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market. Thirdly, to stop the ongoing deportations of Palestinian people in Iceland and grant them international protection.
Icelandic activist groups have organised regular protests and solidarity marches calling on Icelandic authorities to carry out the family reunifications that have been promised, as well as and condemn Israel’s ongoing aggression and apply sanctions against Israel. The next solidarity march will be held this Saturday at 2:00 PM outside the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.