Up to 500 people protested on Austurvöllur square, outside the Althingi parliamentary building yesterday, beating barrels and demanding a utanthingsstjórn, a new government where none of the present ministers hold parliamentary seats.
Protestors beating barrels during a larger demonstration in October. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Three police officers observed the demonstration, which was peaceful and so there was no need to interfere, visir.is reports.
Two MPs were seen talking with protestors, Lilja Mósesdóttir of the Left-Greens and Unnur Brá Konrádsdóttir of the Independence Party. Protestors urged Mósesdóttir not to enter parliament but instead demonstrate with them outside.
Inside parliament the opposition criticized the government for lack of action, claiming their efforts to aid indebted homeowners worked out poorly, visir.is reports.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir asked in return, “If this government is as impossible as the opposition is claiming, why doesn’t it submit a vote of no confidence?” That way it could be determined whether the majority in parliament supported the government’s ideas, she argued.
Historian Gudni Th. Jóhannesson said on news magazine Kastljós that it is highly unlikely that a new government will be appointed in the manner protestors are demanding.
For that to happen, the government has to resign and the president has to appoint new ministers, he explained. However, a utanthingsstjórn has been appointed once before in Iceland’s history.