Jul 04 2010
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“We who also Attacked Parliament…”

A glaring inconsistency in the charges against the Reykjavik Nine is frequently pointed at: the nine were actually part of a group of over thirty, which itself was part of a movement of thousands. Here we publish the translation of a statement signed by over seven-hundred (at time of writing) other participants of the so called ‘Cutlery Uprising’. Their analysis is sharp and their demands clear: drop the charges against the nine accused, or charge us all.

The president of Iceland’s Parliament Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir received this statement by hand on 24 June 2010.

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To the Icelandic State,

Iceland is so far the only State in the West where the response of the people in the streets to the economic crisis has had direct consequences in the field of public politics: On 20 January 2009 performance, we initated, together with thousands of others, an attack on the parliament (The Althing at Austurvöllur Square). This was an unarmed attack and not made in order to cause harm to any humans – the clear and noisy deprecation towards the acting parliament, however, involved a large number of deliberate violations of laws and regulations. Thousands disobeyed the requests of the police, after the yellow ribbon that was stretched around the house was broken.

Many disobeyed repeatedly and many got into some minor fights with police officers who emptied their weapons stores in order to supress the potentially revolutionary situation. Some of us were arrested.

The aim of the attack was to achieve changes in Icelandic society, which is in deep trouble, not just because of the capital crisis that began in October 2008, but also because of what could be called earlier attacks on the parliament, attacks that were committed against the public interest for private interests of the few.

On 1 February 2009 the parlamentary majority collapsed and the government was owerthrown. Our attacks played a key role in making this happen.

The State and its instruments, particularly the judicial system and the police, know that they are helpless against such a mass movement. Holders of State power know quite well that its unsecure exixtence is built only on temporary and amendable agreement with the people from time to time.

The State, however, can not mask its fury against the people who thus forced the government to step down. The judicial system now tries to apply the well known strategy called divide and rule: On 2 March a charge was issued against a group of nine persons who are alleged to have, on 8 December 2008, violated the first paragraph of article 100 of the Criminal Code which reads: “Anyone, who attacks the parliament, so that its autonomy is endangered, sends out messages with that same purpose, or obeys such a message, shall be subject to imprisonment for not less than 1 year, and the penalty can be imprisonment for life, if the guilt is very severe. ”

The State Prosecutor tries to disguise the actual charges and facilitates the media to distract the debate, among other things by spicing the charge with other, unrelated, allegations – bitten ear and strained thumb. By applying article 100 of the Penal Code, for the first time since the public protested against Icelandic membership in NATO in 1949, the Prosecutor does not seek compensation for strained thumbs. The Prosecutor´s real intention is to send this message: The people’s intervention in State affairs is criminal activity.

By directing charges to nine relatively unknown individuals, the Prosecutor chooses an opponent that he considers himself able to deal with, and hopes at the same time to get the thousands of people from all sectors of society, who were involved in similar actions of protest, to participate in a silent accessory. This is how political persecution takes place.

We want the State to be aware that we, who participated in the opposition against the government in the winter of 2008-2009, among other things by violating the law, regard the government’s attack on the group of nine as an attack on ourselves and the thousands who protested that winter. The nine persons are our partners and allies in the struggle against the rightly labelled Masters of the police: Violent government and the oppressive capital to which the State provides its services. Our solidarity will not be broken by selecting nine from the group, or four, or one.

We insist that the State should waive the charges against the group of nine. If the Prosecutor thinks he lacks a reason to change policy in this case, it may, for example, be taken into consideration that at the time of the attack a serious threat the autonomy of the Parliament was not posible, due to the fact how holders of wealth and power had already undermined this very autonomy by successful attacks from within. The Prosecutor could also look to a long standing tradition of not pressing charges for individual incidents in trade conflicts.

Otherwise, we expect the Prosecutor to show the consistency to release charges against anyone who attacked the parliament during the winter 2008-2009, including us who sign this Statement.

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See Saving Iceland’s own declaration of solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine and the Reykavik Nine homepage.

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