Icelanders protest banks
The Star Tribune reported that Icelanders stormed the central bank on Monday to demand the ouster of bankers and several hundred they blame for the Iceland’s economic meltdown.
The banks and currency have collapsed while prices and unemployment rise (Star Tribune). CNN Money reported that the cause of the country’s economic meltdown was that Iceland’s three main private sector banks had become so large that their assets amounted to more than ten times the gross domestic product of the country and the stock market has lost 90% of its value.
"The government played roulette and the whole nation has lost," writer Einar Mar Gudmundsson told an anti-government rally of several thousand people in downtown Reykjavik (Star Tribune).
After the rally, protesters went to the central bank and demanded the firing of its chief, David Oddsson (Star Tribune). The rally was held inside the bank's lobby; the protesters sang songs and chanted "Out with David" and "Power to the People." The protest ended when police and protesters agreed to withdraw (Star Tribune).
Iceland, after failing to receive help from allies, turned to Russia for help. "We knew that talking to them would create a shock, and that was partly the point," says a senior Icelander involved in the demarche (CNN Money).
"Of course we would not have accepted any political strings," Prime Minister Geir Haarde tells Fortune. "This loan would not have indicated any change in our foreign or security policy." (CNN Money).
Haarde said on Saturday that Iceland's economy would get even worse next year, with a "severe drop" in GDP and rising unemployment (Star Tribune).