Iceland Protests Started as Global Epidemic of Riots Continues



Things appear to be getting hot in mid-winter Iceland, where protests have now started as what appears to be a global epidemic of riots, continues. The events started as thousands rallied out into the streets of Reykjavik on Tuesday to demand a referendum outside the Icelandic National Parliament.

The current government of Iceland, that came to power last May, is made up of the same two parties that were in power when the country was rammed by a financial crisis in 2008. A crisis that caused the entire banking system to collapse and sparked what many consider to be the biggest protests since the country regained its independence from Denmark in 1944, excluding perhaps, the riots of 1949 when the country joined NATO.

IcelandAs a result of the 2008 series of events, the country reelected the parliament, reorganized the management of the Central Bank and started a formal investigation of the economic collapse. In the years since, some financiers and bankers have now been convicted in trial as the appointed prosecutor is still working on the cases.

What is causing the protests now, however, is the parliament’s consideration to cancel the negotiations to join the EU all together. The negotiations have been frozen as of last summer when the new government came to power.

As the Tuesday protests went on, so did the debate inside the parliament where the meeting went on till 11.40 pm local time and still no decision made. The local police force estimated the amount of protesters to be around 3000 people, while some sources say 4000, which is already 1% of the island nation’s total population of 300.000. The protests, that just started in Iceland, on top of the bulk of riots elsewhere, might give rise to a question as to whether this will continue to become a global epidemic.

In 2008, the country’s protests started as peacefully organized weekly events, held every Saturday with speakers and musicians. In late January of 2009, however, riots broke out in a word-of-mouth and social media organized gathering on a Tuesday night where clashes broke out between protesters and police forces.

IcelandTear gas, clubs and bricks came into action in the 2009 riots, with several reported injuries, but no reported casualties. Following that were two nights where fires were lit around downtown, shortly after, the government announced the early elections that were to be held in the spring.

The events today, however, appear to possibly feed into the simmering political atmosphere of the European economic region, as witnessed recently where an opposition in the Ukraine seeking to tighten the relations with the EU clashed with the Pro-Russian Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, within the union, there seems to be a growing concern in the UK to leave the partnership and Angela Merkel voiced her ideas to create a European internet to prevent digital espionage, as reported by whistle blowers, is to have been the case in Germany’s relationship with the United States. A few weeks back, Non-EU trading partner, Switzerland, moved toward a direction to regulate the free flow of EU nationals through its labor market triggering conversations of the sort to reopen in some EU member states.

Recent events in Thailand and Venezuela, on top of reported incidents around the Sochi Olympics in Russia, now adding Iceland, might to some give rise to the question as to whether February is the launching month of a global epidemic of riots.

As of Wednesday morning, local time in, the government had been presented with a petition signed by nearly 29 thousand people, constituting to 11.9 percent of registered voters. The protests in Iceland have been scheduled to resume today, starting at 5 pm, local time, as what appears to be a global epidemic of riots continues.

By Halldor Fannar Sigurgeirsson



Iceland Review

MBL (Icelandic)

Euro News

MBL (Icelandic)


The Economist

Author also sources from his knowledge and experience as a native of Iceland

4 thoughts on “Iceland Protests Started as Global Epidemic of Riots Continues

  1. I have an immense appreciation for your comment, Tinna. As far as the pictures go, this article was published within a short amount of time from when the protests actually started, so it may be possible that more up to date pictures were not available in our database as of then However, the 2008-9 protests also started off peacefully, as is thoroughly traced in the article. As far as the comparison goes, it compared in regard to the political atmosphere, in which the tension might be of a related ilk while the actions and outcome are not. Further, if there were casualties, they would be listed, as that is the tragic reality in the cases of the other countries. I do hope, in addition to this, that people take advantage of the listed references and I’m certain people go off on their own seeking further coverage and real time progression of the topic, which is available through some English language media. As far as the word ‘riot’ goes, one definition of it would be along the lines of a ‘brilliant display’, and that is just one example of how broad the term can be. I do believe, as a journalist and as a person, in credible and objective documentation, and it is my firm believe that this article raises questions rather than direct the reader’s perspective, However, if you disagree, I’m always one who’s willing to listen and talk. I have a duty to every reader. Again, thank you so much for the input, and for your time.

  2. All these photos are from 2009, the protests these days are peaceful (so far) and can hardly be counted as part of any “global epidemic of riots” . There are no riots here, and to link this with the situation in the Ukraine is ridiculous.

  3. It was suggested by Halldor, the author, on his facebook profile, that this could definitely be a global phenomenon that seems to be spreading. This article goes into that in some depth and I fear he may be on point. I don’t know if February is “the” month for the start of this but I think it is definitely taking on a global trend. It may have been started by the so – called Arab spring and the sentiment of being “fed up” with the inability (or unwillingness) of each nation’s government to do what is in the best interest of its people. I fear that we may, in the not – so – distant future, see similar riots in places like North (and possibly South) Korea, China and even the USA; perhaps a re-vamped and far more angry, more violent version of the Occupy movement.

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