Reykjavík’s streets have seen a lot of marching in the last two weeks.
An estimated 11,000 Icelanders participated in the annual SlutWalk which helped to inspire a parliamentary proposal that calls for the improvement of the handling and litigation of sexual assault cases.
Earlier in the week 3,000 people attended an anti-war “die in” in central Reykjavík to protest Israeli air raids on Gaza. At the protest more than 600 people lay down on the ground to represent the recent civilian deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Politicians have been speaking out about the situation in Gaza, too. Iceland’s representative at the United Nations, Gréta Gunnarsdóttir,
condemned both Israel and Palestine in a speech at an open meeting of the Security Council.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson issued a statement calling for “the full force” of the UN Security Council to be used
to stop the violence in Gaza.
Even Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has sent a strongly-worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject of the “deeply disturbing” attacks Israel is launching against Gaza, urging for “a peaceful resolution.”
other news, a Reykjavík residential street saw a decrease in the speed of traffic after actress Vigdís Hrefna Pálsdóttir placed flower pots in the middle of the road. Some angry drivers went as far as to call the police but the flower pots may not be necessary for much longer as the street’s residents have applied for official traffic calming devices with City Hall.
Another Reykjavík street was subject to something much less pleasant when a tourist decided to poop outside a storefront in the centre of town. According to witnesses the man then simply walked away after finishing his bowel movement, stopping only to smell his fingers.
Meanwhile, two tourists who were clearly more concerned with Iceland than the street pooper risked their lives in order to swerve around a sheep that had jumped into the road. The jeep flipped and rolled over. Thankfully, the tourists suffered only minor injuries.
Speaking of tourism, an Icelander hoping to sell group trips to North Korea has pulled the plug on the operation. “We had a complete group, but when news stories about concentration camps and starvation in this otherwise fine country began to be reported, people started to cancel,” he told reporters.
On a sad note, pollution has destroyed the rare Icelandic marimo populating Lake Mývatn. “If somebody would have told me 20 years ago that the lake balls could disappear so suddenly I would not have believed them, it is a very sad story,” said biologist Árni Einarsson.
In other, weirder news, Hallgrímskirkja has been voted one of the world’s strangest buildings. Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in Iceland and according to the State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson who designed the church, its appearance is meant to resemble basalt lava flows in Iceland’s landscape.
Perhaps weirder still is the news that a group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”) purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-unification of Iceland and Norway,” wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.”
Lastly, on a happy note, Crossfit athlete Annie Mist Þórisdóttir and founder of deCODE genetics Kári Stefánsson have had a great few weeks. Annie finished second overall in the 2014 CrossFit Games despite a back injury, which threatened to keep her from competing, and Kári was recognised by the Alzheimer’s Association for his work in researching the genetic aspects of the disease. Congratulations to them both!
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