An estimated 3,000 people gathered in Ingólfstorg square in downtown Reykjavík yesterday evening to protest the ongoing Israeli military operations in Gaza.
Around 700 people lay on the ground at Arnarhóll to represent the people who have so far died in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Fréttablaðið reports.
Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson. Photos: Páll Stefánsson.
In a speech at the protest, Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson said it was important to take a clear stance on violence against innocent people. Head of the Iceland-Palestine Association Sveinn Rúnar Hauksson also spoke at the event.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson sent a letter to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanjahu yesterday, urging Israel to call off military offensives in Gaza and to allow for further humanitarian assistance to take place under safer conditions.
“Israel’s responsibility with its use of overwhelming military power is particularly alarming and raises grave concerns about respect for the principle of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attacks under international humanitarian law,” the letter reads in part.
Sigmundur also expressed his condemnation for “indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other militant organizations in Gaza against civilian targets in Israel” but said that the use of force by the Israeli army must come to an end.
Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, is also among those to call for an end to hostilities.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has expressed extreme concern at the situation in Gaza, describing a ceasefire as “vital,” the BBC reports. Forty-four percent of Gaza is a no-go area for Palestinians, and residents are running out of food, she said.
As reported, the Icelandic government has allocated ISK 12 million (USD 104,000, EUR 77,700) to the United Nations working in Gaza and the Icelandic Red Cross has sent ISK 10 million (USD 87,000, EUR 64,000) to the Palestinian Red Crescent.