From Iceland — Protest At Finance Minister's Home: Relaxed, But With Police Response

Protest At Finance Minister’s Home: Relaxed, But With Police Response

Published May 2, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Beinar aðgerðir

A small, peaceful gathering of protesters held near the Finance Minister’s home was met with a police response.

A group of less than a dozen protesters converged upon a spot about 60 metres away from the home of Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson, demanding his resignation in light of his involvement with offshore accounts brought to light in the Panama Papers leak.

Contrary to reporting elsewhere, the protesters report that police were not called out to the scene after their arrival. Rather, they contend two squad cars and a motorcycle officer were already there waiting.

Video taken at the scene shows that at one point, protesters had set up a disposable outdoor charcoal grill on a pile of rocks, in keeping with the protest’s theme of Grillum á kvöldin (Grilling by night*). As can be seen, two officers approached the site shortly after the coals were lit, with one officer pushing two protesters aside before snuffing out the coals with a fire extinguisher.

“The photos show the relaxed atmosphere [of the event] and the ridiculousness of contending that police needed to be called out due to the special nature of the event,” organisers Beinar aðgerðir (Direct Actions) wrote. “The attached video and photos accurately depict the mood of the protesters, and the harsh response of the police to a peaceful and family-friendly gathering.”

* A reference to a famous statement from conservative history professor Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurason, that most voters for the Independence Party (from which Bjarni hails) are apolitical, and primarily concerned with “making money by day and grilling by night”.

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