Migrants cause chaos in Iceland’s parliament

Published 13 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
An MP had to help the police detain the migrant.

An Icelandic parliamentary session had to be suspended due to shouting and disruptions by migrants demanding shelter and a more generous migration policy.

One of the migrants also climbed over the railing of a higher platform and threatened to jump into the chamber.

Last week, speaker Birgir Ármannsson was forced to interrupt a session in which justice minister Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir was presenting a new bill on asylum seekers.

Several migrants had made their way to the parliamentary podium, where they shouted and disrupted the proceedings – one even climbed over the railing to the outside of the podium and threatened to jump into the chamber.

The Icelandic asylum seekers made noise, shouting and calling from parliamentary platforms at the beginning of the debate on changes to the Foreign Nationals Act. As a result, parliamentary meetings have been postponed for a few minutes, as people have been scurrying over the delays“, commented Ásmundur Friðriksson, MP for the Independence Party, on Facebook.

MP grabs the man

Jón Gunnarsson, a member of parliament for the Independence Party and former minister of justice, was among those who had to run and grab the migrant who was threatening to jump, and also managed to prevent him from hurting himself.

It wasn’t anything. I jumped to help the police because one police officer was trying to deal with the man. I just consider it my civic duty to help the police if the situation is like that, he explained after the incident.

Prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said that “this kind of an incident makes parliamentarians understandably shocked” and that they needed a break to digest the situation.

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– It is important that these events do not lead to the closure of parliamentary seats. They must remain open to the electorate, which is important for our democratic tradition, she said.