Socialist Worker

Fury erupts in Iceland over prime minister's Panama Papers tax scandal

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2498

As much as ten percent of Iceland’s population of 330,000 took to the streets on Monday evening, raging against their leaders’ corruption.

They gathered outside the parliament in Reykjavik chanting, blowing whistles and banging drums.

Some waved bananas, as a symbol that they are living in a “banana republic”. Others threw eggs and yoghurt at windows.

“I’m here to show the authorities my disrespect,” said Aslaug Marinosdottir, who joined the protest after work.

The Panama Papers revealed that prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, his wife Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir and other ministers had money stashed away in offshore tax havens.

Arrogant

The arrogant prime minister added to the anger when he dismissed the accusations as ”foolish” and stormed out of a TV studio.

Trust in politicians reached record-low levels in Iceland after the financial crash of 2008, when large numbers of people lost their homes and jobs.

More people turned up for Monday’s demonstrations than gathered in 2009, when protests forced then prime minister Geir Haarde to step down.

Before the latest scandal broke, just 17 percent of people said they trusted the politicians in parliament.

The Pirate Party, which leads in national opinion polls, has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government. It was expected to be heard on Thursday of this week.

Aslaug said, “For the short term the government needs to resign. For the long term we need radical changes.”


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