Omar R. Valdimarsson
Oct 5, 2010
Iceland’s police sealed off the country’s parliament with a five-foot steel fence to protect lawmakers as protestors gathered in their thousands, beating makeshift drums and hurling red paint at the legislature.
More than 5,000 people protested outside the Reykjavik- based Althingi last night, according to a police estimate, as Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir  presented her key policy objectives to lawmakers. Protestors lit a bonfire and threw firecrackers at police while others tried to break through the steel fence protecting the parliament.
Sigurdardottir will “immediately tomorrow call the leaders of all the political parties to a meeting to discuss how to react” to the protests, she told state television last night. “We need to discuss the position we’re facing and we have a number of ideas regarding the debt problem of households, which I want the opposition and interest groups to come to the table to discuss.”
The protests were designed to disrupt the Prime Minister’s first speech to lawmakers since parliament convened for the autumn session this month. Her government, in office since January 2009, is still struggling to resurrect the economy after its banking meltdown a year earlier plunged the island into a crisis that sent the krona down as much as 80 percent against the euro offshore. The island has since relied on a $4.6 billion International Monetary Fund-led loan to stay afloat.