Tens of thousands gathered in cities across the world on Saturday in protest marches modeled on New York's "Occupy Wall Street" movement and sit-ins that began months ago in Spain.
Tens of thousands gathered in cities across the world Saturday in protest marches modeled on New York’s “Occupy Wall Street” movement and sit-ins that began months ago in Spain.
Media reported that more than 150,000 people from across Italy took to the streets in Rome, encouraged by Spain’s “Indignados” movement of mostly young people, who began protesting in May against high unemployment and inequality.
Tax office and defense-ministry buildings in Rome were targeted with explosive devices and smoke bombs, media reported. A group of masked people also broke into archaeological sites near the Colosseum.
In other parts of the city, teenagers reportedly smashed shop windows.
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At least 70 people — including 30 police officers — were injured in Rome, according to a La7 broadcaster, in heavy clashes between anarchists, who barricaded themselves behind rubbish bins, and police armed with water cannons.
Police said around 5,000 people took part in a march on the European Central Bank building in the German financial hub of Frankfurt to protest capitalist excesses and the power of banks.
In Berlin, more than 5,000 people marched on the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to police estimates. Anti-globalization group Attac claimed it had mustered 40,000 demonstrators across Germany.
In London, protesters — including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — took part in “OccupyLSX,” a collective protesting at the London Stock Exchange that had more than 15,000 fans on Facebook and some 5,000 confirmed attendees.
“Why are we paying for a crisis the banks caused?” asked Laura Taylor, a supporter of OccupyLSX. “More than a million people have lost their jobs and tens of thousands of homes have been repossessed, while small businesses are struggling to survive.”
The Guardian reported that thousands of protesters had gathered in London’s financial district, where police in riot gear were applying so-called “kettling” crowd-containment measures.
In Brussels, thousands joined a protest march, the Belga news agency reported, adding that a “small group” of smartly dressed people led a counterprotest at the start of the march.
Hundreds also gathered across Austria. In Prague, about 200 Czech demonstrators marched past the stock exchange.
In South Africa, protests took place in major cities including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, organized by Operation Ubuntu, which calls itself a “leaderless resistance movement,” formed in sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Earlier, hundreds of Australians gathered in Sydney’s business district to protest “corporate greed” — falling short of the thousands that organizers had hoped for.
Around 100 people also took to the streets of Tokyo, according to Kyodo News agency, while the Japan Times reported that some 300 people demonstrated against a range of issues, including the handling of this year’s nuclear disaster.
Thousands of demonstrators protesting corporate greed filled New York’s Times Square on Saturday night, mixing with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.
The demonstrators had marched north through Manhattan from Washington Square Park earlier in the afternoon. Earlier, demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City paraded to a Chase bank branch, banging drums, blowing horns and carrying signs decrying corporate greed.
Marchers throughout the country emulated them in protests that ranged from about 50 people in Jackson, Miss., to about 2,000 in the larger city of Pittsburgh.
Elsewhere in the U.S., nearly 1,500 gathered Saturday for a march past banks in downtown Orlando, Fla.
In Denver, about 1,000 people came to a rally in downtown Denver to support the movement.