January 10th-16th: International days of solidarity for the Reykjavik 9

An international week of actions has been called for 10th – 16th of January, 2011 in support of the Reykjavik Nine, nine individuals including anarchists and radical leftists, who face up to 16 years in prison for protest against the Icelandic parliament. In December 2008 the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos set fire to the streets of Athens, a fire that soon spread to every city across Greece. That same December on the opposite shore of Europe, in Iceland another revolt was already under way born out of the wreckage of the economy that had collapsed that fall. In the winter of 2008, Iceland, the first ‘victim’ of this global crisis, was witness to the largest mobilization in its history. Demonstrations, mass gatherings and popular assemblies, direct action and confrontation on a daily basis and finally mass riots managed to bring down the right wing government at the time. But, just like in Greece that bullet was only one cause to a revolt that had a thousand reasons behind it, in Iceland the bubble that burst that fall was only the spark for the pent up rage and frustration resulting from two decades of neoliberal government – and well, against the political and economic system in its entirety.

As we speak, the Icelandic state threatens with imprisonment nine individuals chosen to be the scapegoats of the uprising that brought down the government in January 2009.

They are the Reykjavik Nine.

On the 8th of December 2008 and while thousands of people had taken to the streets of Greek cities, in Reykjavik, Iceland, a group of 30 people stormed the Parliament in order to interrupt the proceedings and read out a statement of protest. Despite the fact that entrance to the public benches of Parliament is open to all, the police, along with the guards, blocked the entrance and detained the group on the staircase while only two of the 30 people managed to get to the benches. After some minor scuffles few persons were arrested and the rest were let go.

A year later, the authorities targeted nine out of these 30 people. The charge, among others, is that they “posed a threat to the independence of the Parliament” and the potential sentence is from one year up to life in prison!
Continue reading