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Massive global marches against the “financial elites and servant politicians”

Saturday, October 15th 2011 - 18:49 UTC
Full article 14 comments
Protests in Europe follow the model of Spain’s ‘Indignant’ that erupted last May (Photo Reuters) Protests in Europe follow the model of Spain’s ‘Indignant’ that erupted last May (Photo Reuters)

Protests at financial mismanagement and government cutbacks have been held in hundreds of cities around the world. Clashes erupted at the biggest rally, in Rome, when riot police intervened after a small group of masked militants attacked property.

Police used tear gas, water cannon and baton-charges, making several arrests.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall St movement and Spain's “Indignants”, demonstrators turned out from Asia to Europe, but numbers were generally small. Organisers expect rallies in 82 countries, with the protests due to come full circle when they reach New York.

Organisers said on their website that the aim was to “initiate the global change we want”.

“United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future,” it said.

Tens of thousands of people had turned out to demonstrate peacefully in Rome. Television pictures from the city showed streets packed with protesters waving banners, close to the Colosseum.

However militants dressed in black infiltrated the crowd and began attacking property. Offices belonging to the Italian defence ministry were set on fire, three cars were burnt and there were attacks on cash dispensers and bank and shop windows.

Police moved in after bottles were reportedly thrown at them.

The militants were also challenged by other protesters, our correspondent says. “No to violence!” they shouted and tried to restrain them.

There was a message of support for the global day of protest from the chief of the Bank of Italy, Mario Draghi, who is set to take over as head of the European Central Bank (ECB) next month.

“Young people are right to be indignant,” he was quoted by Italian media as saying in informal comments at the G20 summit in Paris.

“They're angry against the world of finance. I understand them... We adults are angry about the crisis. Can you imagine people who are in their twenties or thirties?”

Outside the ECB itself in Frankfurt, Germany, thousands of people gathered to protest on Saturday.

At least 1,000 people demonstrated in London's financial district but were prevented by police from reaching the Stock Exchange.

In Dublin, about 400 people marched to a hotel where an EU/IMF/ECB delegation involved in the country's ongoing financial bailout is staying, the Irish Times reports.

Crowds have started to gather in central Madrid, waiting for eight separate columns to converge from all over the city. People of all ages, from pensioners to children, and many of the young unemployed, have gathered for the evening rally on Puerta del Sol Square, where the “Indignant” movement was launched in May.

It remains to be seen if any of the demonstrations turn into protest camps, such as Occupy Wall Street, which began with a small group of activists in New York's financial district a couple of months ago and has now grown to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.

Observers say that, while the original protesters in Spain had concrete demands such as seeking a cut in working hours to tackle unemployment, many “Occupy” protesters are vague in their demands.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • briton

    Rome burns whilst Nero plays his music
    Or politicians play the corrupt game,
    Unrest in most European cities, where will it end,
    Or will it spread, who knows,
    One things for sure,
    The rich will get richer,
    And as usual shit on the poor .
    Just a thought .

    Oct 15th, 2011 - 07:55 pm 0
  • ed

    Corrupt western countries really do need to be purged with the methods are beyond these protests.

    Oct 16th, 2011 - 09:26 am 0
  • Forgetit87

    It seems Italian protesters have even vandalized religious symbols.

    Oct 16th, 2011 - 01:13 pm 0
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