Icelandic parliament reconvenes amid protests

Iceland’s Althingi parliament this morning reconvened for its autumn session, but MPs were met by many hundreds of noisy protesters — something which used to be rare but has become normal since the economic crisis hit in 2008.

The protest is being held by the Organised Interest Group of Households and their demands on government are very simple: the swift removal of inflation indexing on house loans and an across the board debt ‘correction’. In a television interview this week, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said that universal debt forgiveness would not be fair to everyone and would not be possible so soon after Iceland’s biggest ever recession. She did, however, agree that inflation indexing should go and pointed out that non-indexed loans have recently become available.

Protest organisers say that the event is peaceful; but police cordoned off the Althingi House as a precaution and many eggs have been thrown — including one which hurt a RUV cameraman and another which hurt Left Green MP Arni Thor Sigurdsson.

First Lady Dorrit Moussaieff ditched her husband, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, as MPs and dignitaries were entering the Domkirkjan cathedral for the traditional church service. Instead, she went and joined the protesters. Both had greeted the protesters earlier, on their way in to Althingi.

Vilhjalmur Bjarnason, vice chairman of the Organised Interest Group of Households, told RUV: “We will hand Johanna (Sigurdardottir) our protest document this morning. She has promised to accept it personally. Some 34,000 people have signed it.” Hopefully the group’s demands will be met before the New Year, he added.

(Photo: KMH // IceNews)