Thousands of protesters renew calls for early elections in Iceland

Thousands of people protested Saturday outside Iceland's parliament for the sixth day running, calling for early elections in the wake of a major data leak that resulted in the resignation of the former prime minister.

The protest took place one day after new Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson's centre-right government survived a no-confidence vote.

The vote was called by the opposition after Johannsson's predecessor, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was implicated in a far-reaching data leak from a Panama-based law firm.

Gunnlaugsson, who has denied any wrongdoing, resigned Thursday. The leaked documents suggested he and his wife had owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands. 

Protesters said they wanted a quick change of government. Some waved placards saying "justice, not injustice" and symbolic red cards, others banged on drums and pots.

Police estimated that 5,500 people took part Saturday, while organizers said they had counted 14,000. 

The government's term is scheduled to end in April 2017. It said it would move foward elections to the autumn, but rejected immediate elections.

This would allow it to complete more of its work, including lifting capital controls that were introduced in 2008 after the country's main banks went under in the global financial crisis.

The so-called Panama Papers detail how money was funnelled to shell companies in tax havens and calls into question the finances of numerous politicians, sports stars and celebrities.

Last update: Sat, 09/04/2016 - 19:50
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