International Panama Papers protests

Protesters slam Iceland's government over Panama Papers, photo by Natalia Medina

Protesters slam Iceland’s government over Panama Papers, photo by Natalia Medina   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Iceland: “Capitalism doesn’t work”

Natalia Medina of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) participated in the demonstrations outside the parliament building in Reykjavik that forced the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, following revelations about his finances in the Panama Papers.

Demonstrators Òl-f Einarsdòttir and Begga Þontàr told Natalie: “People lost so much during the financial crisis (of 2007-08); many we know were affected. We need a completely new government”.

“This is the parliament, not a house for criminals!” Pàll Heiðar Aadnegard exclaimed. Pàll has been working as a volunteer since 2007, helping people who risk getting evicted from their homes. “We managed to postpone some evictions and even stop a few, but some we couldn’t stop. I’ve seen some terrible things. This is not enough [protesting], but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Gunnar J Karlsson said: “My husband works in construction and after the financial crash every building site was at a standstill in Iceland. Now he has to work in Norway, away from the family. If you’re born in a rich family with power, then you can’t possibly understand what we feel, what we’re going through.

“It’s a problem that people with power are abusing the system and are hiding money overseas. We need new people in the government – ordinary people. It doesn’t work this way – capitalism doesn’t work and people are beginning to realise that.”

Members of Socialist Action picket Mossack Fonseca on Hong Kong, photo by Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong)

Members of Socialist Action picket Mossack Fonseca on Hong Kong, photo by Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

China: Chinese ruling elite used tax havens

On 12 April, two dozen protesters organised by Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong ) protested against tax havens for the super-rich outside the Hong Kong office of Mossack Fonseca, the firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal.

Among the 140 global political leaders named in the Panama Papers are eight current or former members of the Chinese Politburo Standing Committee, the pinnacle of power within China’s dictatorship.

President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law Deng Jiagu and sister Qi Qiaoqiao are named as having links with two companies in the British Virgin Islands tax haven.

A Bloomberg investigation in 2012 showed the president’s family owned financial assets worth $376 million at that time.

The latest revelations come at a time of deepening crisis and divisions within China’s ruling elite, as the economy derails.

The Chinese regime is going to unprecedented lengths to suppress news of the Panama papers inside the country.

Beijing’s notoriously nationalistic Global Times, while admitting that the Panama Papers may be genuine, makes the absurd claim that their publication is a US-inspired plot!

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