Oct 03 2007

London Protest Against Iceland’s Deportation of Environmental Activists

2 October 2007

Protest Outside Iceland’s London Embassy

Today a protest against Iceland’s current persecution of environmental activists was held outside London’s Icelandic Embassy in Sloane Square. The protestors handed in a letter [below] to Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson, Iceland’s ambassador to the UK, which condemns Iceland’s current attempt to deport Miriam Rose, a British citizen. They held a banner which read: Iceland: Police State.

More information regarding Miriam’s deportation can be found here.

Media Reports:

Letter Handed in to Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson:
“To the Ambassador for Iceland, London.

Regarding the proposed deportation of Miriam Rose

Mr Ambassador,

We wish to express our shock and indignation that the Icelandic state is undertaking deportation proceedings against Miriam Rose, a UK citizen. While we recognize that the final decision on the matter rests with the Immigration Directorate, we feel that the state’s pursuit of this case is indicative of Iceland’s apparent intolerance towards opposition, to the point of persecution.

Far from being a threat to the fundamental values of Icelandic society, Miriam, in common with other foreign environmentalists who have campaigned to save this great European wilderness, has been protesting to protect Iceland’s natural heritage from self-interested corporate exploitation in the form of the aluminium multinationals. The only crime of which she has been convicted is disobedience: civil disobedience has a long and proud history as a morally justified – if not always strictly legal – form of political expression to resist a greater wrong. It certainly does not represent a “sufficiently serious” offense to warrant her expulsion from the country.

The Icelandic state’s repeated attempts to expel Saving Iceland activists, of which this is only the most recent, is compounded by coercive behavior towards Icelanders who make their opposition known. Geophysicist Grímur Björnsson was forbidden from revealing his findings, which were suppressed and kept from parliament because they showed the Karahnjukar dams to be unsafe, while Dr. Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir’s Environmental Impact Assessment on Thjorsarver was first rejected and then (when she had been forced to do it again) falsified; she was not paid for her work. State employed highland wardens found their jobs under threat when they flew their flags at half-mast in protest against the deal between Alcoa and the Icelandic government. This all signifies a lack of respect for freedom of expression as enshrined in the Icelandic constitution.

As representative of your government, we urge you to recognize the poor light this conduct casts on your nation abroad, and hope you will advocate a retraction of Miriam’s deportation and an end to such repressive tactics against the opponents of heavy industry in Iceland.

Yours sincerely,”