Guest at a LGBTI conference attacked
A visitor who came to Iceland to attend a conference held by Samtökin 78 , the National Queer Organisation of Iceland, was attacked last night. Samtökin 78 report this in an entry on Facebook.
The entry states that police and an ambulance were called to the scene and the guest was taken to hospital. His condition is said to be as is to be expected, but the the shock is severe.
Sadly this is not the only instance, because Monday night conference attendees were harassed when they were walking in downtown Reykjavík.
Álfur Birkir Bjarnason, chairman of Samtökin 78, tells mbl.is that the conference guest was on his way home from a celebratory dinner when he was attacked while walking by himself a short distance from Fosshótel in Reykjavik.
Bjarnason said he would not comment further on his condition.
A police matter
The case is now with the police, and Bjarnason says it is not yet known why the guest was attacked or who the attacker was. He says attacks like this beg the question of whether this is the kind of society we want to live in.
Asked about the Monday night episode, Bjarnason says that a small group of conference attendees were verbally harassed while they were walking downtown.
Samtökin 78 held the conference in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Around 100 representatives from all the main LGBTI organizations in the Nordic countries were guests at the conference, which took place yesterday at Fosshótel, Reykjavik.
Another reminder of the backlash
“Lately, Samtökin '78 has had to pay special attention to security issues at events. Security guards were present throughout the conference as well as at side events. Samtökin '78 were also in contact with the National Police Commissioner.
These sad events are yet another reminder that the backlash against queer rights, which was one of the main topics of discussion at the conference, is a real, dangerous, and growing problem in Iceland just like in the neighboring countries.”
Bjarnason says that it is a sad state of affairs if queer people cannot trust being safe in public spaces and that the backlash against the queer community shows the underline the challenges queer people are experiencing today and how to respond to them.