About 70 people gathered in front of Hotel Nordica last night to
protest a NATO meeting being held there, Morgunblaðið reported. Security was by all accounts
heavy, with police fencing off the entrance to the hotel. Drums and pans sounded loudly from outside the lobby, as protestors held signs which read among other things “Peace On Iceland” and “No Army”.
Arrests were made, although it is unclear from media reports why, and RÚV reports that at one point police used pepper spray on the protestors when one of them burned a flag. Stefán Pálsson, chairman of The Campaign Against Militarism, said the pepper spraying was completely unnecessary, adding that the burning flag was nowhere near the building. Despite this, the protest remained largely peaceful.
A statement from the protest’s organizers called the protests “very successful”. In part: “It was clear that the message of the protestors didn’t fail to reach the hotel’s guests, who hurried themselves shame-faced into the doors of the hotel” adding that it was “deplorable that the Icelandic government chose to waste tax money in this way in these difficult times.”