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It’s 10 pm and the protests are intensifying

The number of protesters in front of the parliament buildings has grown steadily this evening and there are now between 2,000 and 3,000 people there. Windows have been broken in the building and paint has been thrown. A bonfire is burning in front of the building and people have fetched things to add to it from nearby building sites.

People who are being interviewed are absolutely livid.

Meanwhile, please read Pauline’s account in the comments to the last post. Her son featured prominently in the news today and it was made out as though he was alone and unsupervised and “where are the parents.” Just as a reminder that there are two [or more] sides to every story.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Alliance introduced a bill today which , if passed, would allow the majority of voters to demand new elections.

Nobody knows how long the protests will last, but it is not unlikely that they will continue into the night.

EPI and I are heading down there now.

More later.

UPDATE:

So, we went down there and there was indeed a lot of commotion. Almost a carnival-like atmosphere, but with a frenzied, furious undertone. Here is a short video I took walking towards the parliament buildings:

The building was in a sorry state – windows broken and skyr and other dairy comestibles splattered all over it. This is what one corner looked like:

Garbage at parliament building

Meanwhile this guy had the right idea – holding up an emergency flare. If there was ever a need for one, this is the time:

Man with emergency flare

Looks like this may continue into the night and right up until tomorrow at 1.30 pm when the next parliamentary session begins.

Comments

comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • digdug727 January 20, 2009, 10:41 pm

    be careful Alda, we want you to be safe. but… GIVE’EM HELL!
    Viva Island!
    doug
    austin, texas

  • Muriel Volestrangler January 20, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Ya-hooooo! Viva La Bylting!
    This is what is required — full-scale riots. No half measures! Off with their heads!

  • Annie January 20, 2009, 10:55 pm

    It’s a good day for a revolution. I agree with the LA commenter in the last post, what the f— were they doing taking a 3-week recess anyway?! Crazy, crazy, crazy.

  • Bluegrass Mama January 20, 2009, 11:15 pm

    That’s not a protest–it’s a riot. Stay safe! I would have hoped to see this handled without violence and vandalism.

  • James January 20, 2009, 11:22 pm

    It was a 4-week (not 3-week) recess and, from the New Year welcome back they received today, can you blame them?! 😉

  • Michelle in NZ January 20, 2009, 11:31 pm

    The news that has reached New Zealand is that the Iceland Police used pepper spray on the protesters. That is hardly going to calm the situation.

    Please stay safe, care and huggles, Michelle

  • Grif January 20, 2009, 11:31 pm

    The only thing I can come up with as for what their thought must have been to take a 3 or 4 week recess is that they assumed the kreppa would still be around so there was no hurry to do anything. They were not going to miss it…

    Good to see that they got a ‘not so warm’ welcome back.

  • Andrew January 21, 2009, 1:45 am

    Do you think an occupation of the Parliament building, especially the PM’s office, would help things along?

  • Professor Batty January 21, 2009, 2:38 am

    Sincere thanks for the almost real-time updates. Take care- you are our most vital link to a story that is usually overlooked here in the US. Even if we get a report, there is almost no substance or depth to it.

  • David January 21, 2009, 3:31 am

    I am very grateful for these reports too Alda. Do take care, this is only just beginning it seems.

  • Jessie January 21, 2009, 3:50 am

    I walked down there at around 8pm, and all I can say is wow. The energy was incredible. It didn’t look like rioting to me, but the feeling was pretty intense.

  • Muriel Volestrangler January 21, 2009, 4:50 am

    Here’s the agenda was the Alþingi was scheduled to discuss today inside the building while the riot was going on:
    – Payments to organ-donors
    – Should wines and beer be sold in grocery stores?
    – Repayments of oil-and kilometertaxes for professional drivers
    – Iceland’s opposition to rocket defences in Eastern Europe
    – Smoking-areas in restaurants.
    – Priority lanes in the traffic
    – gender-equality on boards of financial institutions.

  • Andrew January 21, 2009, 6:29 am

    Is this Parliament actually in Iceland, or is it on another planet!?

  • Kathryn January 21, 2009, 6:41 am

    Better than CNN – take care though Alda.

  • americangirl January 21, 2009, 7:08 am

    To echo Prof. Batty, David, and Kathryn…the first person accounts are very much appreciated. The Alþingi agenda boggles the mind. How can those possibly be the topics for discussion???!!?! Guess it’s true what they say…”truth is stranger than fiction”.

  • Ljósmynd DE January 21, 2009, 7:36 am

    Nothing shows the disrespect for the Icelandic people more explicitly than yesterdays agenda of the parliament. The government just doesn’t seem to be willing to take on dealing with the crisis as their top priority assignment.

    What is the role of the police here? As far as I could see on the videos there wasn’t much violence on the side of the protesters. But I could identify much overreaction on the other side. Is this due to lack of professionalism in the police or are they incited to act like this in order to criminalize the protesters and even provoke violence and by this discredit them? Handcuffing teenagers and large-scale macing is a measure to intimidate people. This behaviour seems to suggest that the government has decided to look upon the protesters as their enemies and does certainly not comply with the Prime Minister’s address to “stand together and show fortitude in the face of adversity”.

    I wish you best luck and thanks for sharing this information.