Thousands gathered at Austurvöllur in front of Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament, yesterday afternoon to protest the current administration following revelations that several of its members held undeclared offshore accounts in foreign tax havens—notably Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.
According to organizers 22,000 people made their way downtown to demand the resignation of the conservative coalition government of the Progressive and Independent Parties, led by Sigmundur Davíð and Minister of Finance and Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson.
Mótmæli á Austurvelli
Tugþúsundir söfnuðust saman á Austurvelli í kjölfar birtingar fyrstu frétta úr Panamagögnunum. Við munum halda áfram að fjalla um það sem við höfum afhjúpað í gögnunum á næstu dögum og vikum á vefnum okkar rme.is. Myndataka: Ozzo Photography.Posted by Reykjavik Media on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Protestors showed up holding signs with statements like “Panama Republic,” “Elections Now!” “Bye $immi” and “Do you have no shame?” One father and son duo just held up sticks with bananas affixed to the end.
Sunlight reflected of the egg covering the Parliamentary building, while empty skyr containers and banana peels littered the ground below. A police barricade encircled the grounds, preventing access to the building itself. Flare torches and fireworks were lit but no reports have been made of any injuries to civilians or police.
A petition demanding that Sigmundur Davíð both resign from his position and call for new elections has also been circulating for the past week and garnered almost 30,000 signatures—thereof 9000 since yesterday.
At the conclusion of a parliamentary meeting of Progressive Party MPs just now, it was announced that Sigmundur Davíð would step down as Prime Minister and that incumbent Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannesson would take his place.
This proposal is however incumbent upon the approval of fellow majority leader Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and chairman of the Independence Party, who has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
It is unlikely that this arrangement will satisfy the electorate’s demands, especially considering the implication of other members of the administration in the scandal, including Bjarni himself.
4000 people have RSVPd and a further 2400 have expressed interest in a Facebook event for a second protest, scheduled today at 5 PM.