A demonstration is currently going on in front of the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, in Austurvöllur square. The demonstration started in the evening, but videos and e-mail chains have been going around the Internet for a while, encouraging people to show up in the square by 7:30 p.m. with whatever item might produce a lot of noise. And as a matter of fact, a rumbling sound can be heard even now, far away from the square, throughout the city. While the crowd seemed small at first, the number of people in front of the Parliament is currently comparable to the protest in January 2009. The demonstration comes after last Friday’s demonstration, when more than 3,000 people protested at Austurvöllur square.
People are calling for new elections and protesting against the banks, the current government, and politicians in general, which are perceived too far away from the needs of the population, when not directly involved with the events that lead to the financial crisis. The simple truth is that thousands of households in Iceland are now in serious financial troubles because of the effects of the crisis; many are losing their homes, others already have lost theirs – while tycoons directly involved in the speculations and activities that lead to the collapse seem to still have plenty of money in their pockets to afford private jets and new investments. This is the video posted on YouTube, encouraging everybody to join the demonstration.
“The banks are canceling debts for tycoons and former politicians, but hang the families of thousands of Icelanders out to dry,” the video says. “Stop! Wherever we stand it is our civic duty to protest, for the children, for the future”.
No major incidents – other than a lot of noise and eggs thrown at the Parliament – have happened so far at the demonstration, but some fear that the situation could get worse if the protest goes on through the night.
You can take a look at the demonstration yourself, through the webcam available here. The angle is not the best, since the camera is not pointing at the side of the square where the Althingi is, but it gives you an idea of activity in the square.