Wall Street Protests Spread Globally, With Rome
Violence, Calm Elsewhere
By Francesca Cinelli, Esme E. Deprez and Maria
Kolesnikova Bloomberg October 15, 2011
Protesters hold signs during an Occupy Melbourne
demonstration in Melbourne, Australia. Photographer:
Luis Enrique Ascui/Bloomberg
[See also: 'Occupy' protests spread across the world
The Occupy Wall Street protest against income disparity
spread across Western Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada
today. Rome's demonstration turned violent, contrasting
with peaceful events elsewhere.
As many as 500 marchers in Rome wielding clubs attacked
police, two banks and a supermarket, Sky TG24 reported.
Authorities used tear gas and water cannon. Londoners
were barred from Paternoster Square, home of the London
Stock Exchange, and Tokyo protesters demanded an end to
nuclear power. New York police arrested 24 at a
Citigroup Inc. (C) bank branch and 6,000 gathered in
The rallies started last month in New York's financial
district, where people have been staying in lower
Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. They widened to 1,500 cities
today, including Sydney and Toronto, the organizers
said, in a "global day of action against Wall Street
"The world will rise up as one and say, `We have had
enough,'" Patrick Bruner, an Occupy Wall Street
spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Protesters say they represent "the 99 percent," a nod
to a study by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph
Stiglitz showing the top 1 percent of Americans control
40 percent of U.S. wealth.
March on Banks
In New York, demonstrators marched past a JPMorgan
Chase & Co. (JPM) branch urging clients to transfer
accounts to "a financial institution that supports the
99 percent." They distributed fliers with a list of
community banks and credit unions.
"I'm interested in sending a message to support banks
that actually support the community as opposed to those
like Chase that took government money and fired workers
anyway," said Penny Lewis, 40, a City University of New
York labor professor. She said she planned to close her
Twenty-four were arrested later for refusing to leave a
Citibank branch, the police said, and about 6,000
marched to Times Square as night fell, the organizers
said. There were also protests in Boston, Philadelphia,
Miami, Denver, San Francisco and other U.S. cities.
About 1,000 people gathered in Toronto's financial
district carrying signs saying "Nationalize the Banks,"
"CEO Pay Up 444 Percent in 12 years. How About You?"
and "We're All in the Same Boat." Others opposed war,
serial killers and hydro- electric costs.
Protests were planned in at least 15 Canadian cities,
including Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and
Winnipeg, according to the Canadian Broadcasting
Violence in Italy
Demonstrations turned violent in Italy, where the
unemployment rate for 15-to-24-year-olds was 27.6
percent in August. Thirty police and 20 protesters were
injured in Rome, Sky TG24 reported. Firecrackers were
thrown at the Ministry of Defense and windows of Cassa
di Risparmio di Rimini and Poste Italiane SpA
shattered, according to the report.
"Something like this is clearly not spontaneous," James
Walston, who teaches politics at the American
University in Rome, said in a telephone interview. "We
have been in a risky situation for months with
expectations -- above all of young people -- falling
lower and lower. The potential for violence today, with
so large a number of demonstrators, was high."
Mayor Giovanni Alemanno told Sky TG24 that "the worst
of Europe planned to meet in Rome."
"Now, the citizens of Rome are those who have become
angry," he said.
The Occupy London Stock Exchange protest drew about
4,000 people, according to organizers. Police didn't
provide a number. In the shadow of St. Paul's
Cathedral, banners had slogans that read "No Bulls, No
Bears, Just Pigs" and "Bankers Are the Real Looters."
"The financial system benefits a handful of banks at
the expense of everyday people, the taxpayers," said
Spyro Van Leemnen, a 27-year-old public-relations
agent. "The same people who are responsible for the
recession are getting away with massive bonuses."
In Berlin, 6,000 took to the streets and 1,500 gathered
in Cologne, ZDF television said. In Frankfurt, 5,000
marched by the European Central Bank headquarters with
toy pistols firing soap bubbles and planned to camp
out, ZDF reported.
"A few hundred" met at the Paris city hall, according
to BFM TV. Thousands marched in Madrid with placards
criticizing bank bailouts. In Zurich, about 200
coalesced on Paradeplatz, playing Monopoly and sipping
free coffee from a stand.
In Taiwan, several hundred demonstrators sat mostly
quietly outside the Taipei World Financial Center,
known as Taipei 101.
Levin Jiang, 22, an English major at Taipei's Fu Jen
Catholic University, joined others singing the
communist anthem L'Internationale in front of a Hermes
"I'm angry about the unjust capitalist society," he
said. "I'm anti-capitalism."
In Seoul, 600 converged on the city hall after changing
the location of the protest as police banned the rally
today, Yonhap News reported. They urged rules for
speculative investments and demanded lower college
In Hong Kong, about 200 people gathered at the Exchange
Square Podium in the central shopping and business
district, according to Napo Wong, an organizer.
"Hong Kong is heaven for capitalists," said Lee Chun
Wing, 29, a community college social sciences lecturer
in Hong Kong. "Wealth is created by workers and so
should be shared with the workers as well. Capitalism
is not a just system."
In Tokyo, morning rain may have deterred some from
joining three planned protests. More than 120 people
demanding an end to nuclear power marched from Hibiya
Park to the offices of Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner
of the Fukushima atomic plant crippled by a March 11
Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.
Submit via email: [log in to unmask]
Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3
Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq
Search Portside archives: http://portside.org/archive
Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate