Hundreds of protesters rallied in central London on Saturday calling on David Cameron, the British prime minister, to resign over revelations about his financial affairs.
Following the Panama Papers leak, Cameron’s late father Ian was revealed to have owned one of the offshore investment firms exposed – with the prime minister himself involved until just before taking office.
It took several statements from Downing Street, however, before Cameron’s prior interest was finally revealed.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Downing Street demanding that Cameron resign, before marching to the venue where a UK Conservative party conference was being held.
Many demonstrators waved placards portraying Cameron as an out-of-touch elitist, while others held signs mocking the Panama firm involved in the leak with the slogan: “Mossack Fonseca: Because taxes are for poor people.”
Speaking at the party’s conference on Saturday, Cameron said the mismanagement over the disclosure was his responsibility and Downing Street staff should not be blamed.
“Well, it’s not been a great week,” the prime minister said. “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.”
It was Cameron’s first public appearance since his admission on Thursday that he had owned shares in a Bahamas-based trust from 1997 to 2010, ending four days of obfuscating statements issued through aides.
Ian Dunt, editor of politics.co.uk, told Al Jazeera that Saturday’s protests were unlikely to lead to Cameron’s resignation.
“He isn’t on the verge of going, he’s not in as much trouble as it looks as if you’re looking at those images,” Dunt said, referring to video of protesters chanting and carrying placards.
The UK prime minister is one of scores of political leaders, celebrities, and sports stars linked to shell companies and investment trusts following last weekend’s massive data breach at the Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specialises in registering offshore companies.
Cameron faces mounting pressure from opposition politicians to reveal the full extent of his past investment in offshore trusts, particularly those run by his father, a millionaire stockbroker who placed much off his savings in island tax havens.
“He has catastrophically mismanaged the last week, it has to be said,” Dunt said.
“They’ve put up five statements from Downing Street over the past week, each time more cleverly worded as to give less and less of his tax affairs away, more importantly those of his family – and his father in particular.”
In Saturday’s speech, Cameron reiterated plans to make public his recent tax returns to show that he paid all legally due taxes on his Bahamas investment.
He has declined to answer questions on whether he made other offshore investments.