From Iceland — Spit Mask Used By Police On Independence Day

Spit Mask Used By Police On Independence Day

Published June 19, 2024

Photo by
Screenshot from video

Police officers arrested a man during Independence Day celebrations on June 17 and the altercation has since been circulating on social media. During the arrest near the intersection of Laugavegur and Ingólfsstræti five officers knelt on a man and forced a spit mask over his head. The man was detained on the grounds of public intoxication.

A video of the arrest has gone viral on social media and shows the five officers subdue the man and force the white mask onto the detainee. Police superintendent Ásmundur Rúnar Gylfason told RÚV that the mask is used to ensure the safety of police officers when detainees attempt to spit on officers.

According to RÚV, three officers were patrolling the area when they interfered with the intoxicated man. A police car was dispatched to the scene to transport the detainee to the station. When the car arrived, two other police officers joined the fray.

Open Enquiry

In recent weeks, Icelandic police have faced criticism following their repeated clashes with peaceful protesters. On May 31, police officers broke up peaceful anti-war and pro-Palestinian demonstrators with physical force and pepper spray. Another incident of police clashing with protesters took place on June 13, during a pro-Palestine demonstration at Austurvöllur, where physical force and diluted pepper spray were used.

Following the May 31 protest, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson (Left-Green MP) launched a review of police conduct during the protest.


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