Yesterday afternoon protestors gathered once again at Austurvöllur, in front of the parliament building, this time protesting refugees in Iceland. Multiples more however, gathered to another protest, at the same time in the same place, held in solidarity with refugees, Muslims and multiculturalism according to Stundin´s report.
On the one hand, the newly founded right-wing populist political party, The Icelandic National Front (Íslenska þjóðfylkingin), gathered on Austurvöllur to voice opposition to new laws retaining to foreigners, the reception of refugees and demanding that no mosque be built in Iceland. On the other hand, a majority of the people present in Austurvöllur yesterday were there to oppose the Icelandic National Front, and gathered in solidarity with refugees, Muslims and multi culture. Some tension mounted, not least once the pro-refugees group formed a circle around Austurvöllur and started chanting slogans for their cause. There were some minor clashes between the two groups, particularly when a woman supporting refugees, grabbed a protest sign from a member of the Icelandic National Front and ran away with it and tried to smash it. She was chased down and threatened but police managed the situation and there was no violence.
According to RUV’s report Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson congressman and member of the Pirate party, entered in the gathering and tried to reason with the protestors, citing the new law, and pointing out errors in the rhetoric of the national front, which roughly maintained that while the Icelandic social system is not able to take proper care of its own people the government should not receive new citizens, but Gunnarsson pointed out that Icelandic society should be well equipped to do both and one should not hinder the other.
Video from Stundin’s YouTube channel, pro multi-culture protestors chanting “Less prejudice, more love”
Video from Stundin’s YouTube channel, the Icelandic National Front chanting “Welcome our people” in response to the chant “Welcome refugees”