LONDON — Thousands of protesters were marching on Downing Street in London on Saturday, calling on UK Prime Minister David Cameron to resign amid controversy surrounding his financial affairs uncovered in the “Panama Papers” this week.
The protesters held signs urging Cameron to “go now,” while many wore Panama hats. A few were holding up a paper-made container in the shape of a pig with the prime minister’s photo glued to its face. Others wore pig snouts on their faces.
In his first public appearance Saturday since his admission Thursday night that he had owned shares in a Bahamas-based trust from 1997 to 2010, Cameron said: “It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn, and I will learn them. And don’t blame No. 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers. Blame me.”
Cameron drew laughs and applause from the sympathetic audience of Conservative Party activists. The British PM had sidestepped persistent questions on the issue for four days with a string of obfuscating statements issued through aides.
Absolute scenes. Protester in London holding this up outside Downing Street: pic.twitter.com/ogXYZ8TFe8
— Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) April 9, 2016
Cameron said he would publish his tax returns.
Cameron and his Downing Street office issued four comments regarding the Panama Papers before the premier on Thursday finally admitted he had held shares in his late father’s offshore investment fund.
Cameron admitted he had held a stake in the fund and sold it for around £30,000 (37,000 euros, $42,000), four months before he became prime minister in 2010.
“The facts are these: I bought shares in a unit trust — shares that are like any other sorts of shares and I paid taxes on them in exactly the same way,” Cameron said.
“I sold those shares. In fact, I sold all the shares that I owned, on becoming prime minister.
“And later on I will be publishing the information that goes into my tax return, not just for this year but the years gone past because I want to be completely open and transparent about these things.
“I will be the first prime minister, the first leader of a major political party, to do that and I think it is the right thing to do.”
The revelations in the Panama Papers, resulting from what the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca blamed on a computer hack launched from abroad, revealed how the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies.
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