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Iceland Mag

Politics

Residents in Berufjörður fjord, E. Iceland, blocked Ring Road to protest poor road conditions

By Staff

  • Angry locals Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson, a farmer in Berufjörður, was one of the protesters who closed down the Ring Road through the fjord. Photo/

Residents in Berufjörður fjord in East Iceland blocked the Ring Road 1 through the fjord on Sunday to protest what they describe as completely unacceptable and dangerous conditions on the road. The stretch of the Ring Road which runs through Berufjörður is unpaved and suffers from inadequate maintenance.

200 people, 60 cars
Local farmers and residents blocked the road by parking more than sixty vehicles in the road on Sunday afternoon. Organizers told the local news site Vísir that nearly 200 people had participated, and that the protesters came from all over East Iceland. No traffic passed through Berufjörður during the protest. 

Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson, a farmer in Berufjörður, argues conditions in Berufjörður are simply unacceptable. Locals argue the road is more like an obstacle course than the main highway circling Iceland. Berglind Häsler, a farmer in Berufjörður and one of the organizers of the protests told Vísir that the action enjoyed widespread support among locals and travellers alike. "We have just stopped everything down here, and those who were planning to drive through, and didn't know of our action, have simply joined us." 

Broken promises by politicians
The protests follow an announcement by the right-wing coalition government to slash funds for infrastructure maintenance. In the lead-up to the election the conservative Independence Party made promises of investing 14 billion ISK (130 million USD/120 million EUR), but last month the minister of transportation Jón Gunnarsson, who is a member of the Independence Party, announced that only 4 billion ISK would be spent on repair and maintenance, and that many projects urgent projects, like paving the road in Berufjörður fjord, would have to wait. 

Jón told Vísir that the protests have zero impact. The decision has already been made not to pave the road this year.

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