Iceland president wears rainbow bracelet for meeting with Mike Pence

  07 September 2019    Read: 1246
Iceland president wears rainbow bracelet for meeting with Mike Pence

Mike Pence was greeted with a display of LGBT+ solidarity upon arrival in Iceland, after the Nordic island’s president wore a rainbow bracelet to their meeting and businesses displayed Pride flags outside buildings.  

The US vice-president, visiting the capital Reykjavík as part of a whirlwind European tour, has a history of supporting anti-LGBT+ policies, including as Indiana governor when he voted against a ban on discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. He also opposed the repeal of a law preventing openly gay people serving in the military.

Pulling up to Höfði House – the venue of President Ronald Reagan’s historic 1986 meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev – Mr Pence was met by half a dozen Pride flags planted conspicuously outside an office block opposite the building. 

Ægir Már Þórisson, director of IT company Advania, told local news outlet Monitor: “We just felt the need to celebrate diversity today and wanted to show that by flying the flags.”

Another business, Efling union - headquartered nearby - also flew the rainbow flags, which are global symbols of LGBT+ pride. 

Meeting Mr Pence inside Höfði House, President Guðni Jóhannesson was spotted wearing a rainbow bracelet on his right wrist. Iceland’s first lady, Eliza Reid, wore a similar bracelet to the meeting. 

It came a day after the Trump administration claimed Mr Pence could not be “anti-gay” because he had agreed to meet the Irish taoiseach and his same-sex partner during a trip to Ireland.

Mr Pence was the first US vice-president to visit Iceland, a country of just 350,000 people, since George HW Bush came to Reykjavik in 1983.

But the size and standards of Mr Pence's security detail, which included military jets and armed personnel, required adjustments by the nation of just 350,000 people.

The guards protecting Mr Pence got backup from a police force that only allows elite "Viking SWAT" members to carry guns.

Icelandic authorities also gave US personnel special permission to carry firearms, while bomb-sniffing dogs were cleared to enter the country because of a strict quarantine for imported animals.


The Independent

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