Wednesday 30 March 2022

alþing considered

On this day in 1949, a peaceful march and rally in the Austurvöllur public square before the national parliament building in Reykjavík to protest against the country’s accession to NATO, the Western alliance and re-militarising of Iceland (see previously) unwelcome by many, turned violent after prominent members of the Socialist Party (Sameiningarflokkur alþýðu) claimed they were being held hostage, pulled with the rest of the country unwillingly into the Cold War. Protests continued after police dispersed the main crowd with tear gas—the first time such methods were used in Iceland—and the police never again had to resort to such measures until the 2009 Pots and Pans Revolution stemming from the financial crisis, and the people of Iceland have had an ambivalent relationship with sending forces since.