Minister in gathering trouble (updated)

24.12.2020 - 10:18
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Eggert Þór Jónsson - RÚV
UPDATED: A government minister was among 40 to 50 people at a gathering in central Reykjavík that was last night broken up by police. Iceland has a ten-person assembly limit in place until at least 12th January, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was at a hired venue that should have been closed for the same reason.

Police received a call about a licenced venue that appeared to be open. When officers arrived at 22.25, they found 40 to 50 people inside. Among them was one government minister. The party guests were reportedly very drunk and none were wearing face masks.

The cabinet is made up of 11 ministers, nine of whom have told RÚV, directly or through their personal secretaries, that they were not at the party. RÚV has so far not been able to contact finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson, health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir, or their personal secretaries.

UPDATE: It has since been confirmed that the minister in question was Bjarni Benediktsson.

Also yesterday evening, at around 23.00, police stopped an outdoor music event with some 60 people, some of whom were drunk. Police spoke with a man who said he had advertised the event on Facebook.

Bjarni wrote on Facebook this morning (in Icelandic):
"On the way home from the city centre yesterday evening, Þóra and I received a phone call from a couple we are friends with, who were located at Ásmundarsalur and wanted us to drop in and exchange Christmas greetings. When we entered and went up to the reception room yesterday evening, I should have noticed there were more people than the rules allow for.

"As can be read in the news, the police came and disbanded the gathering. And rightly so. Too many people had gathered together there.

"I had been in the building for around 15 minutes, and the number of guests increased during that time. The right reaction would have been to leave the art gallery immediately when I noticed that the numbers were not within limits. I did not do that and I apologise sincerely for my mistake."

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