Domino Effect: Wall Street protests go global; riots in Rome
With cars torched and banks attacked in Italian capital, over 40,000 march in Portugal and 4,000 rally in Athens, it would appear that the Wall Street protests have gone global.
October 16, 2011 10:17 by Reuters
Thousands of demonstrators rallied across the globe on Saturday to denounce bankers, businessmen and politicians over the international economic crisis, with violence rocking Rome as angry protesters torched cars and smashed bank windows.
Galvanised by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, touched parts of Asia, spread to Europe, and ultimately resumed at their starting point in New York with 2,000 marchers decrying corporate greed and economic inequality.
The demonstrations by the disaffected coincided with the Group of 20 meeting in Paris, where finance ministers and central bankers from major economies were holding talks on the debt and deficit crises afflicting many Western countries.
While most rallies were relatively small and barely held up traffic, the Rome event drew tens of thousands of people and snaked through the city centre for kilometres (miles).
Hundreds of hooded, masked demonstrators rampaged in some of the worst violence seen in the Italian capital for years, setting cars ablaze, breaking bank and shop windows and destroying traffic lights and signposts.
Police fired volleys of tear gas and used water cannon to try to disperse militant protesters who were hurling rocks, bottles and fireworks, but clashes went on into the evening.
Smoke bombs set off by protesters cast a pall over a sea of red flags and banners bearing slogans denouncing economic policies the protesters say are hurting the poor most.
The violence sent many peaceful demonstrators and local residents near the Colosseum and St John’s Basilica running into hotels and churches for safety.
In contrast, small and peaceful rallies got the ball rolling across the Asia-Pacific region on Saturday. In Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, 3,000 people chanted and banged drums, denouncing corporate greed.
About 200 gathered in the capital Wellington and 50 in a park in the earthquake-hit southern city of Christchurch.