About 100 Icelanders gathered in front of Government Offices today with one message: stop the deportations of family and children.
Banners were festooned around Government Offices as people formed a gauntlet leading to the front door of the building. Protesters on the scene pointed out that, according to Article 21 of the Act on Foreigners, “a foreigner born in Iceland, who has since resided permanently and continuously in Iceland, can not denied entry to Iceland or expelled from Iceland”. Despite this fact, the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) has deported or ordered the deportation of families, some with young children who were born in Iceland.
Speakers included not only Icelandic organisers, but also asylum seekers themselves – some of them currently facing deportation – thanking the Icelandic people for their support, while encouraging the government to rethink its position on these deportations. (Article continues below video)
At the protest’s conclusion, people were invited to stick a paper doll to the steps of the Government Offices, with each paper doll representing a child that has been deported from Iceland. Red paper planes were also distributed, and flown at or around the building.
The protest was peaceful, with no injuries or arrests reported.
UTL’s policies often run counter to public opinion, with a new poll from RÚV showing that about 73% of Icelanders believe the government should actually be accepting more refugees. Another poll from RÚV showed that, in addition, 70% of Icelanders are against making asylum regulations stricter.