From Iceland — Protests Scheduled Tonight; Finance Minister "Understands" Public Anger

Protests Scheduled Tonight; Finance Minister “Understands” Public Anger

Published October 4, 2010

Thousands have been encouraged to protest in front of parliament tonight when Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir delivers her platform speech at 19:30. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told reporters he fully understands the public anger and considers the right to protest “holy”.
A video created by protest organizers has been posted on YouTube, which you can watch below. The overlying text features slogans such as “The dignity of parliament is gone”, “The banks write off for the wealthy and former politicians but put thousands of Icelandic homes in debt”, and “Parliament has spent the past two years only to take jabs at one another.” Attendees for this protest are encouraged to bring trash cans to drum on.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told radio station Rás 2 that he understands the public anger, adding that “I don’t fear [the protesters]. They’re right; those who want to do it, just do it. You still hope that things go well, that there will be no destruction of property or bad behavior. That doesn’t help. It is a sacred and given right to protest, and I’ll be the last person to say anything against it. I have myself often protested.”
Steingrímur emphasized that he sympathized with the public. “We understand the rage of the people over the mess that has occurred. We still try not to lose hope for the future. Let’s try to solve this problem together, try to proceed correctly, avoid destruction of property, and that one doesn’t speak of violence. And in closing: leave the private homes of individuals alone,” referring to a number of protests which have taken place in the past that saw protesters positioning themselves outside the private residences of politicians.

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