International week of actions in solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine
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!
This action was merely one out of a plethora of actions that took place on a daily basis in Iceland on the winter of 2008: mass protests, home ‘visits’ to ministers and bankers, sabotage on state property, disruptions in banks and other financial institutions, disruptions at government meetings and mass sabotage to the live TV transmission of the annual party political debate. An intrinsic part of this uprising was the evolving anarchist movement which is rooted in the year long struggle against heavy industry and the ecological disaster that has resulted from it, always in the name of “green development”…The roots of this movement became apparent when it began to adopt en mass and for the first time confrontational tactics such as the unprecedented attack on the Reykjavik police headquarters by a crowd of 500 people as a response to the arrest of an anarchist.
The revolt reached its climax on the 20th and 21st of January 2009 when thousands of people gathered outside Parliament and prevented what would be Parliament’s first session for that year. The beginning of the end for that government was marked when a newly formed group of
radical students, Oskra, broke the lines of the police in front of the Parliament. What followed was 48 hours of rage and fury with noise, fire and rocks. The Christmas tree was sacrificed at the fire and every single window of the parliament building was shattered. For the first time in 60 years teargas filled the air of Reykjavik. With the police reaching breaking point there remained only two options for the state: To call in the Danish army (Iceland’s former colonizer) who had been on hold for three months in the outer harbor of Reykjavik or to dissolve the government.
The case of the RVΚ9 is a clear case of political persecution. The CCTV evidence brought forward demonstrates beyond doubt that the violence was that of the police and the guards. The current ‘left-wing’ government took over power in May 2009 on the backs of the grass roots movements that toppled the last government. This government is not interfering in this case not because it lacks the political will but precisely because its political will is to criminalize the radical elements of the revolt having already co-opted the revolt itself and suppressed popular demands for retribution against the politicians and bankers responsible for the crisis, of whom NONE have yet been brought to justice! Just like in other European countries ‘socialism’ seems to be the most appropriate medium for the most vicious neoliberal restructuring of the economy, in Iceland the left-wing government with the blessings of sold-out labour unions and under strict supervision of the IMF, is the one that will execute the mass cut backs, the privatizations and the sell-off of natural resources for the further development of heavy industry. All this is taking place in the name of the “crisis” and in a climate of nationalism, neo-fascism and xenophobia that has resulted from it. Note that in the recent protests ‘against the crisis’ in Reykjavik in 2010 neo-nazi groups have suddenly emerged and participated! Luckily they were attacked by anarchist demonstrators.
The final hearing in the RVK9 case is taking place in Reykjavik city court on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of January 2011. An international week of actions in support if the RVK9 have been called for the week beforwe the trial, 12th – 16th of January.
For this small island state at the periphery of Europe, any negative attention from abroad deeply hurts the authorities, the elite and the corporate media. For this reason it is imperative that we give them all the negative attention they deserve so that the Icelandic authorities know that the world is watching them, so that they know that there will be serious consequences for them at the event of a conviction for the Reykjavik Nine!
We call for ALL kinds of solidarity actions to the Reykjavik Nine and against the Icelandic state!
SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON!
Please send pictures, statements, or other informations about actions to email@example.com so that it can be reported on after.
A list of Icelandic embassies, click here.
More information about the case can be found on: www.rvk9.org