From Iceland — About 8,000 Attend Referendum Protests

About 8,000 Attend Referendum Protests

Published March 3, 2014

A “togetherness rally” in front of parliament yesterday attracted over 8,000 protestors, gathered around the theme of holding the ruling coalition to their pre-election promise of a public referendum on whether or not to continue European Union accession talks.

At this, the fifth protest in six days on the matter, Vísir reports, Icelanders of all ages gathered. According to police figures, over 8,000 were present at the demonstration’s peak.

Speakers at the protest included writer Illugi Jökulsson, Icepharma director Margrét Guðmundsdóttir and chairperson of the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association Sigurður Hólm Gunnarsson, who expressed a sentiment common amongst many Icelanders on the matter:

“When I vote, I trust that what politicians very clearly promise will be put into practice. I don’t know if I want to join the EU, but I want to get to vote on it, and what matters most to me is that which was promised to me – that I get to [vote in a referendum]. When people have no intention of standing by their promises, I want to vote in a new government.”

At his speech’s conclusion, audio clips from Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Independence Party chairperson Bjarni Benediktsson – recorded before the elections, featuring them promising a referendum on the EU question – were played for the crowd.

More photos and video from the event can be seen here.

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