If you find yourself driving around in circles around the perimeter of downtown Reykjavík this week, you can blame the Council of Europe. (Shakes fist in general south-easterly direction.)
The Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe is being held right here in Reykjavík May 16 to 17. The city centre’s most coveted parking spaces have been blocked and many streets have been barricaded off in preparation for the arrival of Europe’s biggest political movers and shakers — specifically heads of state and government from the 46 Council of Europe member states.
Sóleyjargata, Skothúsvegur and Fríkirkjuvegur are closed to vehicle traffic, as are all city centre streets between Vonarstræti and Geirsgata, and Aðalstræti (and up Vesturgata) and Lækjargata. Additionally, Hafnarstræti and Pósthússtræti are closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, as is the entire area around Harpa, where the summit is being held. You can find an interactive map of the affected areas on RÚV.
Moreover, flying drones is banned for an area that spans from the international airport in Keflavík to the airspace over the entirety of the capital area.
Those wishing to protest are being asked to do so on Arnarhóll, which is a pretty decent place to hang out in general — especially if this sunny weather holds. Of course, those wanting to protest the imposition of designated protest areas can try to gather elsewhere, but we don’t imagine the police will take kindly to it.
This is just the fourth summit held in the Council of Europe’s 73-year history. It is being held in response to a report prepared in October by the Council’s High-Level Reflection Group that outlined 30 recommendations for the Council to meet the challenges presented by the war in Ukraine. The summit is being tagged as “an historic opportunity for the Council of Europe to refocus its mission, in the light of new threats to democracy and human rights, and to support Ukraine.”
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