Helgi Hóseasson - Iceland's original protestor - dead at 89 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Helgi Hóseasson – Iceland’s original protestor – dead at 89

Published September 6, 2009

Helgi Hóseasson, often credited as being the “first protestor in
Iceland”, passed away today at a home for the elderly. He was 89 years
of age.
Hóseasson first came to national attention in 1962 when he wished to become “unbaptized”, but soon discovered that neither the national church nor the Ministry of Justice could grant him this service. Despite numerous legal attempts his request was never fulfilled.
Hóseasson is probably most famous, however, for throwing skýr at the bishop of Iceland, the president, and numerous members of parliament as they made their way into the parliamentary building in 1972. When asked in a radio interview in 2007 why he used skýr, he explained that he didn’t want to render anyone blind by using acid or something else that might have hurt them.
In 2003, the documentary Mótmælandi Íslands (Iceland’s Protestor), which covered Hóseasson’s life, was released and received favorable critical review, having been nominated for an Edda award for Best Documentary that same year.
Hóseasson was more often than not seen standing at city intersections holding a sign bearing a simple, often poetic, message of protest. His image became iconic to many Icelanders, and he is beloved as a symbol of steadfastness and determination.

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