From Iceland — Gálgahraun Protesters Charged

Gálgahraun Protesters Charged

Published January 26, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Lava Friend

Seven women and two men have been charged with refusing to obey police orders to vacate a protest last October.

Vísir reports that the nine, who are members of the group Lava Friends, have been charged with refusing to obey a police order. This order was to disperse their blockade of road construction through the Gálgahraun lava field, which were officially protected in 2009, last October.

Prosecutor Jón H.B. Snorrason told reporters that it is not illegal to protest, but people need to obey the police when given an order.

One of the charged, Sveinbjörg Vilhjálmsdóttir, described the charges against her as “crazy”, adding, “That people cannot peacefully protest without having the police sent to you is ridiculous. And that’s apart from being put in solitary confinement and then brought before court. I feel like I’m living in a police state.”

The question of whether or not one can disobey a police order, when the police have no right to give said order, is reminiscent of the case of Lárus Páll Birgisson, who last September filed charges against the Icelandic government to answer this very question.
The Lava Friends case will be heard in Reykjanes District Court on Tuesday.

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