A group of protestors, some of whom were masked, tried to prevent ministers from entering the Althingi parliament building in Reykjavík yesterday morning, shouting that the government was unfit to rule.
Protests outside the Althingi parliament in October, 2008. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
While police tried to shove them away from the entrance, one protestor, a young man, walked straight up to Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde in a threatening manner without police intervention.
“It is absolutely unacceptable behavior to harass MPs, who are doing their jobs and are on their way to parliament,” Speaker of Parliament Sturla Bödvarsson told Fréttabladid.
Chief constable Geir Jón Thórisson said it appears as if the police officers present didn’t notice when one of the protestors walked up to Haarde. “Police were obviously focusing on clearing a path for the people to enter the parliament.”
The prime minister’s media representative, Kristján Kristjánsson, said Haarde does not want to comment on yesterday’s events or on safety matters in general.
Bödvarsson on the other hand encouraged people to show restraint, hoping that they realize that such actions do not serve any purpose.
When asked whether police will increase safety measures from now on, Thórisson said it will depend on the opinions of those who are being threatened. “If they feel threatened, we will react accordingly.”
Bödvarsson said it has not been decided whether security will be increased outside the Althingi parliament, adding that he hopes it won’t come to that.
“There is noting unnatural about the public demonstrating and expressing their views on the serious situation that has arisen in society, but we have to believe that Iceland can still be a society where the public as well as the authorities may expect a certain level of safety,” Bödvarsson concluded.