A protester who was twice charged with disobeying a police order has filed for damages against the Icelandic government.
The story of Lárus Páll Birgisson is convoluted. In executive summary: Lárus had protested in front of the US embassy and was told by police to vacate the area, first in October 2009 and then in November 2010. In both instances, he refused, and was charged with disobeying a police order. This led to fines of 200,000 ISK and 50,000 ISK respectively. He was not allowed to appeal the decision, as the Reykjavík District Court ruled that the fines were too small to appeal.
Vísir now reports that Lárus is filing a lawsuit against the Icelandic government to the tune of 2.5 million ISK.
For Lárus, the matter centres around whether or not refusing to follow a police order is illegal if the order itself breaks the law. “Can the police tell people who are expressing themselves in a public space [Lárus was on the sidewalk when police gave the order] that they must go? If you refuse to obey a police order, are you breaking the law regardless of what the order is?”
Lárus believes this issue should be hashed out in a court of law. No date has yet been set for the trial.
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