Icelanders Protest Government’s Plans to Stop EU Talks

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Icelanders Protest Government’s Plans to Stop EU Talks

By Zoë Robert
Protest outside Iceland's parliament

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Around 4,000 people turned up to Austurvöllur square in front of parliament this afternoon to protest the decision by the ruling Progressive and Independence Parties to put forward a resolution this week to withdraw from European Union talks. The protest, which took place at 3 pm, was called for over the weekend.  

Protest outside Iceland's parliament on stopping EU talks
Protest outside Iceland's parliament on stopping EU talks

Photos: Erlingur Páll Ingvarsson.

The majority of members in the parliamentary groups of both parties voted in favor of  stopping European Union membership talks last week.

The decision has received widespread criticism with many arguing that the nation should have the chance to vote on the matter in a national referendum, as the party’s chairman, Bjarni Benediktsson, promised before last year’s general election.

Protest against stopping EU talks, outside Iceland's parliament
Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

“We must be able to vote on this. Then we vote on it and this matter is finished,” said Árni Tryggvason, one member of the crowd with whom Iceland Review spoke. 

According to the latest poll, more than half of Icelanders want to continue the talks with the European Union.

EU talks were put on hold indefinitely after the current government took power last year. The parliamentary debate on the resolution to withdraw from talks, scheduled for today, was moved to tomorrow, ruv.is reports. 

UPDATE: The debate has gone ahead and is expected to run late into the night.

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