Warnings about conflicts in city center this weekend

23.11.2022 - 23:25
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Police say they will be on high alert in the centre of Reykjavík after the knife attack in Bankastræti Club last Thursday and subsequent threats of a revenge attack. Landspítali is considering activating a response plan if a conflict occurs in the city centre this weekend. The US Embassy has warned Americans here of imminent danger. The video published yesterday in the media is said to have been leaked by the police and could harm the investigation.

The goal of the police is to prevent serious incidents

Yesterday, a screenshot of a communication on social media was circulated, in which a revenge attack in the centre of Reykjavík is threatened this weekend, saying people will be attacked randomly. National Police Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir says that the credibility of these messages is being assessed. 

"Among the police there is a certain preparedness. The threats are being reviewed and assessed as to how likely they are to be carried out, and then police will decide what measures need to be taken," says Sigríður. Asked what happens if the police do think the threats are credible, she says, "then it is up to the police in the capital area, who would decide on next steps in cooperation with the armed police force and special forces, and then try to prevent a serious incident from happening. It will be done if there is a reason to warn people." Yesterday Sigríður's deputy, Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson, said that as things stood then, the public wasn't being warned to avoid central Reykjavík this weekend. 

Sigríður also says that what is happening here in Iceland is not surprising. "We have repeatedly said that ten or twenty years ago, we were behind the neighbouring nations in terms of how crime was developing. But now, we are at the same place." 

No official warning, but responders are preparing

Twenty-eight have been arrested in connection with the case, including one on suspicion of threats and vandalism. "There is something going on, and we are fully aware of it," says Margeir Sveinsson, assistant chief of police in the capital region. "There are some groups in conflict, and where they will be in conflict - whether it will be downtown or somewhere else - we cannot say at this time."

The police will be on special alert in the city centre this weekend, as will the restaurateurs. The American Embassy warned its citizens today to be careful in the city centre this weekend.

The hospital has a response plan ready

The director of Landspítali emergency department says that the hospital's management is wary of the situation. The hospital direction reviewed, in cooperation with the police, a response plan should it be activated during the weekend.

Margeir says this is not a sign that the police have lost control of the case. "We have seen an increase in violence and gang formation. We have been suspecting it might come to this and now it has. We believe we are fully equipped to deal with the situation."

The footage was leaked from the police

Yesterday, videos from Bankastræti Club's security cameras showed the knife attack. The district attorney is investigating the case, and it seems that someone used a phone to make a recording of a computer screen. An LÖKE logo can be seen on the recording, which is the police's case file system, which means that the leak probably came from the police.

Grímur Grímsson, the chief police officer in the capital area, says that many people in the police had access to the videos. "The majority of the staff here had access to the footage because we are in the process of identification of those in the video," says Grímur. Do fewer people now have access to the case files because of this leak? "Yes."

He says that the leak could have a significant impact on the work of the police. "Sharing research data with unauthorized parties can have a very serious impact on the progress of an investigation. And that's why we take it very seriously."

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