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Saturday, 15 October 2011

'Occupy' protest turns violent in Rome

Some demonstrators set fire to cars, broke shop and bank windows during a protest against global economic policies.
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2011 15:18
New York's 'Occupy Wall Street' movement goes global in several dozens of cities from Asia to Latin America [Reuters]
Violence broke out in Rome as tens of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched in European cities in protest against capitalism and austerity measures.
As the "Occupy Wall Street" protests went global on Saturday, some protesters in Rome smashed shop windows, torched cars and attacked news crews.
Black smoke billowed into the air in downtown Rome as a small group of violent protesters broke away from the main demonstration. They smashed car windows, set vehicles on fire and assaulted two news crews of Sky Italia, the TV reported. Others burned Italian and EU flags.
The protests that began in Canada and spread to cities across the US has now moved to Asia and Europe, linking up with anti-austerity demonstrations that have raged across the debt-ridden continent for months.
Dozens of cities across the world - from Tokyo to Alaska via London, Frankfurt and Washington - are holding demonstrations in a show of solidarity with the rallies that began last month in downtown New York.
In depth coverage of US financial crisis protests
"On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares ... to initiate the global change we want," proclaimed the website United for #GlobalChange.
"We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen. It's time for us to unite; it's time for them to listen."
Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, saw the day's first demonstration, when at least 1,000 people, including children, gathered at City Square.
"We face similar problems with our democracy here in Victoria and Australia as people face in most other developed nations," the Occupy Melbourne website said. "Our democracy is unwell."
In Sydney, about 2,000 protesters including representatives of Aboriginal groups, communists and trade unionists, protested outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia, at Martin Place in the central business district time.
'Occupy Asia'
Demonstrations of various sizes took place in Asia, namely in Japan's Tokyo, the Philippines' Manila, Taiwan's Taipei, South Korea's Seoul and China's Hong Kong.
Several protests and rallies were held simultaneously in various locations at the Japanese capital.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched to the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to show dissatisfaction over the handling of the nuclear disaster triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Despite heavy rains in Seoul, the South Korean capital, members of more than 30 civic groups congregated outside the Financial Services Commission in Yeouido, the city's financial district.
Activists wearing Guy Fawkes masks staged performances to express their frustration with the growing income gap in Seoul, and chanted "We are the 99 per cent" - one of the seminal slogans of the Wall Street movement.
In Manila, about 100 members of Bayan, an alliance of various left-wing groups in the Philippines, marched to the US embassy, waving banners that read: "Down with US imperialism" and "Philippines not for sale", broadcaster APTN reported.
They took Saturday's occupy protest to voice support for the New York movement and to express their cricism of US troop presence in the country's south.
One man was seen carrying a placard that read: "Genuine people's democracy lives in the streets."
In Hong Kong, more than 200 people gathered at Exchange Square Podium in the city’s central shopping and business district.
Some pitched tents to stay overnight at the site while others later migrated to the HSBC building nearby.
Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, saw a smaller turnout of near 100 people than the expected 1,500, at the city's landmark skyscraper Taipei 101, home to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
The Occupy South Africa website announced "Operation Ubuntu", a Nguni word used to describe unity for a common purpose through an African worldview that people can only find fulfilment through interacting with other peoples.
Protests are scheduled in the country's major cities of Capetown, East London, Durban and Johannesburg for later on Saturday.
Greek protesters aligned with Spain's "Indignant" movement called an anti-austerity rally in Athens' Syntagma square, the focal point of many demonstrations during Greece's financial meltdown.
Cath Turner reports on Wall Street activists' defiance
In Germany, the financial centre of Frankfurt and the European Central Bank was expected to be a focus of marches called by the Real Democracy Now group.
"What is happening in Greece now is the nightmare waiting other countries in the future," Real Democracy said in a statement.
"Solidarity is people's weapon."
In Britain, about 4,000 people have signalled their intent to attend a peaceful demonstration that will start at noon today in the City of London -- a leading international financial centre -- under the banner "Occupy the Stock Exchange", according to organisers.
In the United States, the founding "Occupation Wall Street" movement has urged more people and cities to join them on Saturday.
There have also been calls for occupations similar to that in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to take place in dozens of US cities.
In Houston, Texas, protesters plan to tap into anger at big oil companies.
Al Jazeera and agencies

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