Upwards of 300 – 2000 people participated in last night’s protests, which ended about 03:00 Icelandic time. Tear gas and mace were used, resulting in one protestor being sent to the emergency room. Morgunblaðið reports that this is the first time in 60 years that tear gas has been used on Austurvöllur, the square in front of parliament.
Also among the injured were two policemen, who were allegedly struck with flagstone, the heavy stone pieces used to pave some sidewalks in Iceland.
At one point in the evening, protests moved to the National Theatre, where a meeting of the Reykjavík branch of the Social Democratic Party (Samfylking) was being held. A bonfire was started outside of the theatre, and many protestors managed to get into the theatre.
Samfylking is one of the two parties who comprise the ruling coalition. At last night’s meeting, the Reykjavík branch of the party voted overwhelmingly in favor of breaking the power-sharing agreement with the Conservative Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) and hold elections in the spring.
In related news, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the new chairman of the
Progressive Party (Framsókn) told reporters that his party would
support a leftist government comprised of Social Democrats, the
Leftist-Greens (Vinstri-Grænn) and his own party. Prime Minister Geir
H. Haarde has continuously asserted that the government is sound.