“I was just walking, not protesting anything,” No Borders activist Elínborg Harpa Önundardóttir told Fretablaðið, when asked about the Pride Parade. Like many others participating in the celebrations, Elínborg was dressed up in pink clothing and a decorative golden mask and carrying a cardboard sign that read “Queer Liberation.” But before she could make it to her friends, Elínborg was seized by police.
“Suddenly three police officers grab me and tell me I can’t go over there,” she explained. The police allegedly held Elínborg in both hands. “Then they tell me they know who I am and that I always have a problem,” continued Elínborg. Elínborg is a member of No Borders Iceland, a group that advocates for the humane treatment of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. She has participated in demonstrations with this organisation before, and so the police officers seemed to immediately recognise her. “It was clear from the beginning that they weren’t taking me for anything I had done but just for who I am.”
Officer Jóhann Karl Þórisson told Vísir that the incident started with Elínborg’s protest of the march, a statement Elínborg’s lawyer has refuted as bullying of her client. Jóhann said the arrest occurred then because of Elínborg’s refusal to cooperate.
Elínborg was asked to remove her mask and present an I.D.. She cooperated with both of these requests. “The only thing I disobeyed was when they were going to take my phone,” says Elínborg, who also pointed out that the police had not been “authorised to confiscate the phone.” Elínborg had tried to record the incident in an attempt to protect herself from what she recognised to be an unlawful arrest.
After not turning off her phone, Elínborg was reportedly slammed to the ground by the officers and handcuffed. She was then taken to the police station, where she says she still was not told exactly what she did to deserve to be there, and was instead just told that she could go as soon as she calmed down. Elínborg said that she had been crying both because the situation was incredibly unfair and also because she had been physically hurt.
Elínborg was later issued a trauma certificate from the hospital for her thigh, facial, and wrist injuries. “They hurt me multiple times during the arrest itself and inside of the [police] car,” she explained.
Elínborg is appalled by any misinformed, negative association to her, or No Borders, with Pride, assuring, “I was just going to have fun.”
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