Herring and Class Struggle

Capitalism came late to Iceland. At the end of the 19th century this large, wind-swept, thinly populated island was made up of small towns, farms and seasonal fishing stations. Then European capitalists saw another Klondike in the herring-rich waters of the north Atlantic..

Sunday 2 October 2011

1st Oct Iceland Protest update

3500 angry protestors[1] stood outside the Althing today, against the temporary security fence around Parliament. They set off flares, threw eggs and fruit and beat against the fence calling for the government to go, and an immediate election.
The new session began with the President and the Bishop walking the few metres from the Althing to the Cathedral, followed by the prime minister, ministers and all the mp’s. They walked across the square though another hail of eggs. One man interviewed on camera said he wasn’t protesting, he’d just come to say goodbye - he is leaving for Canada. Fishermen were also demanding quota changes because they can't live like this.

Out of town riot police protected the building as the local riot police have resigned. A statement from the Police Union said that the police are unhappy at being used as a shield between the government and the people but they could not refuse orders.
A petition of 34000 signatures has been handed in to the prime minister demanding the removal of index linking of mortgages which will only increase repossessions. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir says this will be top of her agenda next week.
Meanwhile there seems to be some confusion as Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, the finance minister said later today that it would not be a good idea to make more cuts. However he is going to save 1% through ‘streamlining’, whist the Welfare Ministry announced cuts of 2 billion Isk or 2.3%. Furthermore Steingrimur still says Iceland will pay off its deficit by 2014.
180 jobs were lost in September and more are expected to go soon. Fuel tax increases have also been announced.
If I were the Icelandic government I would keep those security fences handy. They are going to need them again soon.

[1] That’s over 1% of the population, equivalent to a demo of 600,000 in Britain.

1 comment:

  1. Video footage of Icelandic MPs being egged from the Independent newspaper in the UK.