Iceland scandal over MPs' crude and sexist bar talk

Protest in Reykjavik, 1 Dec 18Symbol copyright
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Reykjavik protest – the placard says “This parliament is a shocker”

There are requires a number of Icelandic MPs to surrender when they have been recorded the usage of crude language to explain feminine colleagues and a disabled activist.

Icelanders have been particularly surprised that the MPs’ objectives integrated ex-MP Freyja Haraldsdottir, a disabled girl and well known incapacity rights activist.

Iceland has lengthy been observed as a beacon for ladies’s rights and has a feminine high minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir.

4 Centre Birthday party MPs, together with an ex-PM, apologised for the crude language.

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Freyja Haraldsdottir expressed ache on Fb over the abusive language

On Fb Ms Haraldsdottir – who has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone illness) – mentioned former High Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had apologised to her in my view.

However she mentioned the apology didn’t cross a ways sufficient. “To apologise, whilst attempting to provide an explanation for, give an explanation for, and simply lie about what took place, isn’t an apology.”

“There are 1000 and one tactics to specific variations of opinion as opposed to mocking a girl’s frame and look,” she wrote on Fb (in Icelandic).

Society in surprise

The 4 Centre Birthday party MPs and two MPs from the Other people’s Birthday party – all opposition politicians – have been secretly recorded by way of a member of the general public in a Reykjavik bar, Klaustur.

They’re heard many times the usage of the phrase “complain” and sexually-charged language. A lady MP used to be within the staff, however didn’t make in a similar way offensive feedback.

The nameless eavesdropper despatched the recording to Icelandic media, and it then went viral on social media. He mentioned he recorded them on his cell phone as a result of he used to be surprised by way of the language they used, the Iceland Track reported.

The MPs’ dialog used to be greater than 3 hours lengthy.

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A protest rally crammed the sq. outdoor parliament on Saturday

On Saturday about 1,000 other people protested towards the MPs concerned, at a rally in Iceland’s Parliament Sq..

Anna Margret Björnsson, a reporter at Iceland Track, advised the BBC that “maximum Icelanders are very surprised and angry” by way of the recording.

For 9 years Iceland has crowned the Global Financial Discussion board’s World Gender Hole Index, which tracks growth in opposition to gender equality.

Ex-PM in scorching water once more

The 2 Other people’s Birthday party MPs were expelled from their birthday celebration, however they plan to stay in parliament as independents.

Within the recording one of the crucial staff allegedly mocks Ms Haraldsdottir’s incapacity by way of imitating a seal. In step with Mr Gunnlaugsson, the sound got here from a chair being moved, now not from one of the crucial MPs.

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Ex-PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned in 2016

Mr Gunnlaugsson used to be embroiled in a large scandal when the Panama Papers have been printed in April 2016.

He resigned as PM after the leaks from legislation company Mossack Fonseca published that he owned an offshore corporate along with his spouse, however had now not declared that on getting into parliament.

On Fb he complained (in Icelandic) on 28 November about the name of the game recording within the bar. “Maximum critical, then again, is the truth that Iceland is accomplishing interceptions of politicians’ personal conversations,” he wrote.

‘No purpose to harm’

He and the 3 different Centre Birthday party MPs despatched a joint apology to the media, pronouncing “it used to be now not our intent to harm any individual, and it could be transparent that this communicate is inexcusable”.

“We will be able to focal point on finding out from this”, they mentioned, apologising additional to their birthday celebration colleagues and households.

At Saturday’s rally a Reykjavik town councillor, Sanna Magdalena Mörtudottir, mentioned “I need to pay attention the voices of everyone else, now not smug, tough, white middle-class males who’ve been allowed to rule this society for too lengthy”.

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Town councillor Mörtudottir condemned “smug, tough, white middle-class males”

Bryndis Snaebjörnsdottir, head of a disabilities affiliation known as Throskahjalp, advised the BBC her colleagues and disabled Icelanders usually have been “relatively surprised” by way of the recording.

“It used to be hate speech. It used to be so terrible to hear MPs imitating animal noises, making jokes a few disabled girl who is a large fighter for the rights of other people with disabilities,” she mentioned.

“The entire MPs who have been there will have to depart parliament,” she mentioned. She famous that incapacity get advantages in Iceland is not up to unemployment get advantages – 243,000 krona (£1,554; $1,976) a month, when put next with 270,000 krona for the unemployed.

“Now we are questioning if it is as a result of the ones attitudes of MPs,” she mentioned. “We do not believe the ones other people, it is unforgivable.”

Ms Björnsson mentioned “Iceland is also referred to as a rustic of feminism and gender equality, however even though issues are most certainly higher right here than in lots of puts there is nonetheless an extended technique to cross, in issues of equivalent pay, punishment for sexual offenders, how rape sufferers are regularly handled and the way ladies are spoken to and handled each day.”

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