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ExPatLeftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:36 PM
Original message
Teargas fired at protesters in Iceland
There have been protests like never before over the last few months due to the financial collapse of this nation, and the protests have increased over the last few days in Reykjavk, with protesters demanding that the current government step down.

The protests were very long and more rowdy yesterday than they have been over the last several weeks, and police used pepper spray repeatedly last night (pictures from last night:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/photo_galleries/a... )

Tonight a big step was made, with Samfylkingin, the more left (and less powerful) of the two parties in the coalition government calling for new elections or the dissolution of the coalition. The "right wing" Sjlfstis party (actually left of the Democrats), who are the big power in the government, have simply talked down to the protesters, basically telling them to calm down and behave.

The protesters continued on, demanding more than promises.

Then (about two hours ago) the cops decided to use tear gas for the first time in 60 years: http://www.mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent/2009/01/22/taragas... /

Translation:
"Teargas was fired at protesters in East Field around 12:30 AM, and it is the first time since 1949 that the weapon has been used in Iceland. White smoke lay over East Field after the gas canisters were fired, causing the protesters to flee the area, but the police were all equipped with gas masks.

As the smoke cleared, people re-appeared in East Field and threw bricks and other debris at the police. The police fired the gas again at the again fleeing protesters. According to this paper's information, two policemen are seriously injured after having part of a sidewalk thrown at them.

A few hundred people gathered in East Field around midnight tonight, and altercations began swiftly between protesters and police. The police used batons and pepper spray at first to attempt to disperse the people, and then resorted to teargas after warning the crowd through a bullhorn. According to our information, approximately 10 gas canisters were fired at protesters.

People have now gathered in front of the Ministry Office. According to our reporters, there are between 200-300 people and are not acting peacefully. For example, red paint was sprayed on the building and the traffic sign in front of the building was broken down. The police are watching every move. There is another group of protesters in front of the Parliament building and police stand guard there, two deep."


I just got back from the protest, and must say that I think that the paper is spinning a bit toward the cops in this case - which makes sense as certain politicians, the banks and the media are all best pals. The cops went too far, too fast, and got some back. Truth be told, I am sure that they are scared - greatly outnumbered, they are a very small city police department with a little riot squad, and no backup (no military here at all). I really hope they will keep their cool though, because people are in the mood to fight back. Either way, I am sure that within the next two months, if not the next few days, we will have a new government.

This is a very tense situation, and sick that they are using tear gas, IMO, but it is wonderful to see the passion of the people to take our nation back, and the vast majority that are peaceful and taking part in democracy in rapid action.
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Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
1.  ExPatLeftist
ExPatLeftist

This is troubled times for Iceland for sure.. And I hope maybe a new government, voted into office by the people can undo some of the damage, and give the people in Iceland some hope for a better time ahead.. Even that I fear the road ahead to be rough, hard and difficult for most Icelandic.

And I hope we, as Iceland's nabour would help the country to came back, because after all, we have both traditionally have strong and good ties to ICELAND for many hundreds of year.. Iceland was part of Norway in the middle ages, and was under Norwegian rule to 1814 when our union with Denmark was dissolved, and the dam Danish managed to keep Iceland, and Greenland, and the rest of the islands in the west.. But anyway, We have some strong ties to Iceland, and i hope we can help Iceland to get their feet on the ground again, instead of this turbulent times they are in now..

And you are right, the police is Small at Iceland, they have never needed to much police on that Iceland, because for the most part Icelandic people are low bidding and do not behave to badly.. And they have no military to speak of, some naval forces, to keep the fishing under control, but nothing important at any kind.. To me Iceland sound like a very nice country to live in if I might say so..

I hope our friend, and allied in the West, would keep their head cool, and over time overcame this problem they have now. It would not be easy, it would not be over for a long time, but in the end, I guess Iceland would have learned something about this.. Not to let "free marked" take the lead, they have the habit of stealing the wealth,and then leave the scene of crime for everyone else to fix..

Diclotican

Sorry my bad english, not my native language.
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ExPatLeftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks for your kind words, neighbor.
This is a very difficult situation, but I think it will be (mostly) peacefully resolved and we should have anew government soon - one that values the lives of people more than the bottom line of the banks. This was capitalism out of control - a great lesson for Iceland and the world.
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Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. ExPatLeftist
ExPatLeftist

Capitalism out of control, is always bad, have been that since Capitalism was born in the 1700s.. Even Smith, who in the Wealth of the Nation, was warning against unruly capitalism and what would happened if the government do not keep a aye on how the capitalism work, then you have a castratrope on your hand..

And in Iceland just 16 men could ruin the whole country, that is the most amazing about it all.. Just 16 men, with a idea of robbing the bank clean.. And they almost got it right because everyone "believed" that the sky had no limit...

I hope Iceland would manage to keep things under control, and with a better government you might even manage to get Iceland on their feet again.. And for the future, I hope Iceland have learned the hard way that you have to get things right the first time around.. And have a strong control with what happened on the economical front too...

Diclotican

Sorry my bad english, not my native language.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:21 AM
Response to Original message
3. I posted two videos...
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 07:22 AM by Joanne98
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ExPatLeftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. Adding link to Reuters video
http://www.mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent/2009/01/22/fjallad... /

The text on the page is in Icelandic, but the video is in English, and includes a decent overview of the political situation.
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