Thousands of protesters peacefully convened on Austurvöllur square on Saturday afternoon, demanding immediate parliamentary elections. The number of protesters is estimated to have been up to 14,000.
This was the sixth day of protests since Monday, when voters turned to the streets in record numbers (up to 22,000), demanding the resignation of then PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and elections, following revelations that Sigmundur had connections to a company in the tax haven of Tortola. That connection was revealed when millions of documents, the so-called Panama Papers, were leaked from a notorious law firm in Panama. The leak revealed that Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal also have ties to offshore companies.
Vice Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson took over as prime minister on Wednesday, with a new Minister for Foreign Affairs Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir in his government.
Sigmundur, who chose both his successor and the new minister for foreign affairs, remains the chairman of the Progressive Party and a member of parliament. Thus, protesters are not satisfied and feel the change is insufficient. Their demands at Saturday’s protest were threefold: Immediate elections, the resignation of the government, and the resignation of every MP with ties to an offshore company. Protests are planned again today.
Our photographer Páll Stefánsson took the following photos on Saturday:
The Icelandic flag at half staff.
The sign reads: “Bjarni [Benediktsson], Ólöf [Nordal] and Sigmundur [Davíð Gunnlaugsson], begone from Alþingi [parliament] right now. Anomie.”
“ISK 140 billion agricultural trade agreement against the public good. Progressive Party, no continued progress, no pause.”
Protesters gave the government the red card, reminiscent of football referees sending players off the field. “Capitalist government begone right now.”
This protester was the only one who was armed.