Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir said that the government will not hinder nor detain anyone who protests the arrival of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao – a reference to a notorious incident about ten years ago.
In response to a Vísir story that members of Falun Gong in Iceland are considering protesting a visit from Wen Jiabao later this month, Jóhanna posted on her Facebook that “any concerns about whether the government will try to stop peaceful protests of the arrival of Wen Jiabao are completely unnecessary.”
The status continues to say that the Icelandic government had informed Chinese officials that peaceful protests are permitted here, as a part of a democratic society. “The security of the premier will of course be ensured, as would be the case for other foreign guests to the country, and only for this reason are police preparations underway for this visit.”
The assurances are a reference to an incident in 2002, when Falun Gong members protesting the arrival of then Chinese president Jiang Zemin were not only unlawfully detained in Iceland; those outside of the country suspected of being potential protesters were blocked from coming to Iceland. The incident resulted in numerous unlawful arrest suits.