Dozens detained in New York as anti-Wall Street protesters march on Times
Square, while protests turn violent in Italy.
Oct 16, 2011 Al Jazeera
Dozens of people have been arrested in New York as thousands of
anti-corporate protesters marched to the city's famous Times Square at the
culmination of a day of global demonstrations inspired by the 'Occupy Wall
Police, some on horseback, packed 71 protesters in vans after thousands of
demonstrators mixed with tourists converged on the major commercial
intersection, divided by police barriers.
The demonstrators in lower Manhattan on Saturday banged drums and chanted
"We got sold out, banks got bailed out," "All day, all week, occupy Wall
Street," and "Hey hey, ho ho, corporate greed has got to go."
Protests were also held elsewhere in the United States and Canada, notably
in Washington DC, the US capital.
Violence in Rome
Violence broke out during the day in Rome as tens of thousands nicknamed
"the indignant" marched in several European cities in protest against
capitalism and austerity measures.
Black smoke billowed into the air in the centre of the Rome as a small
group of violent protesters broke away from the main demonstration. They
smashed shop windows, set vehicles on fire and assaulted two news crews.
Others burned Italian and EU flags.
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, said that those responsible
for the rash of violence would be identified and punished, calling the
rioting "a very worrying sign for civil society ... they (radicals) must
be condemned by everyone without reservation".
Italian police said that at least four people had been injured in the
clashes, while the ANSA news agency reported that as many as 70 had been
wounded, with three in serious condition.
Security forces locked down the centre of the city, closing metro stations
and major monuments such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, blamed the violence on "a few thousand
thugs" who "infiltrated the demonstration".
Meanwhile, in Berlin, around 4,000 people marched through the streets,
with banners that urged the end of capitalism. Some marchers scuffled with
police as they tried to get near the country's parliamentary buildings.
In Frankfurt, continental Europe's financial capital, about 5,000 people
protested in front of the European Central Bank.
Outside London's iconic St Paul's cathedral, WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange spoke to about 500 demonstrators.
"The banking system in London is the recipient of corrupt money," he said,
adding that WikiLeaks would launch a campaign against financial
institutions in the coming months.
Scuffles broke out in the UK capital between police and protesters, who
raised banners saying "Strike
back!"; "No cuts!" and "Goldman Sachs is the work of the devil!"
In Paris, the French capital, about 1,000 protesters rallied in front of
city hall, coinciding with a G-20 finance chief's meeting.
In the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, hundreds walked through the streets
carrying pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read "Death
to capitalism, freedom to the people."
Another 500 people gathered to hear speakers denounce capitalism at a
peaceful rally in downtown Stockholm, holding up red flags and banners
that read "We are the 99 per cent" and "We refuse to pay for capitalism's
The reference was to the world's richest one per cent, who control
billions in assets, while billions around the world live in poverty or are
Tens of thousands of Portuguese, angry at their government's handling of
the economic crisis, also took to the streets of Lisbon. Other protests
were staged in Geneva, Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich and
Authors sign online petition
A group of 100 prominent authors, including Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman
and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists Jennifer Egan and Michael Cunningham,
signed an online petition declaring their support for "Occupy Wall Street
and the Occupy Movement around the world."
Occupy Wall Street in New York City's Zuccotti Park
Demonstrations of various sizes also took place in Asia, namely in Japan's
Tokyo, the Philippines' Manila, Taiwan's Taipei, South Korea's Seoul and
China's Hong Kong.
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 in the city's financial district.
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.
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.
Rioters hijack Rome protests, police fire tear gas
By ALESSANDRA RIZZO and MEERA SELVA | Associated Press • October
ROME – Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons in Rome on
Saturday as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against
corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles.
Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched without
incident in cities across Europe, as the "Occupy Wall Street" protests
linked up with long-running demonstrations against European governments'
Heavy smoke billowed in downtown Rome as a small group broke away and
wreaked havoc in streets close to the Colosseum and elsewhere in the city.
Clad in black with their faces covered, protesters threw rocks, bottles
and incendiary devices at banks and Rome police in riot gear. With clubs
and hammers, they destroyed bank ATMs, set trash bins on fire and
assaulted at least two news crews from Sky Italia.
Riot police charged the protesters repeatedly, firing water cannons and
tear gas. Around 70 people were injured, according to news reports,
including one man who tried to stop the protesters from throwing bottles.
TV footage showed one young woman with blood covering her face, while the
ANSA news agency said a man had lost two fingers when a firecracker
In the city's St. John in Lateran square, police vans came under attack,
with protesters hurling rocks and cobblestones and smashing the vehicles.
Fleeing the violence, peaceful protesters stormed up the steps outside the
Basilica, one of the oldest in Rome.
"People of Europe: Rise Up!" read one banner in Rome. Some activists
turned against the violent group, trying to stop them and shouting
"Enough!" and "Shame!"
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno blamed the violence on "a few thousand thugs
from all over Italy, and possibly from all over Europe, who infiltrated
the demonstration." Some Rome museums were forced to close down and at
least one theater canceled a show.
Protesters also set fire to a building, causing the roof to collapse,
reports said. The Defense Ministry denied reports it was one of its
Premier Silvio Berlusconi called the violence a "worrying signal," and
added that the perpetrators "must be found and punished."
Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote Friday, with many questioning
his leadership. Italy's debt burden is second only to Greece in the
17-nation eurozone and the country is rapidly becoming a focus of concern
in Europe's debt crisis.
ANSA said four people from an anarchist group were arrested Saturday with
helmets, anti-gas masks, clubs and hundreds of bottles in their car.
Elsewhere, bright autumn sunshine and a social media campaign brought out
thousands across Europe.
In Spain, the Indignant Movement that began around-the-clock "occupation"
protest camps in May which lasted for weeks held evening marches Saturday
that converged on Madrid's Puerta del Sol plaza.
"There is a huge crowd here," said Elsa Varona, whose choir sang an
excerpt from Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco overture as the marchers arrived.
Organizers said 300,000 people took part, but police did not offer an
Other Spanish cities including Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Malaga
hosted similarly well-attended gatherings."
Portuguese protesters angry at their government's handling of the economic
crisis pushed against police lines in Lisbon, but officers stopped them
from storming parliament. Portugal is one of three European nations -
along with Greece and Ireland - that has had to accept an international
In Frankfurt, continental Europe's financial hub, 5,000 people protested
at the European Central Bank, with some setting up a tent camp in front of
the ECB building.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke to protesters outside St. Paul's
Cathedral in London, calling the international banking system a "recipient
of corrupt money."
The London demonstration swelled to several thousand people by early
evening, and police said three were arrested. While protesters erected
tents and gathered blankets, food and water to settle down for the
evening, police urged them to leave, saying cathedral staff needed to
prepare for Sunday services.
In Paris, marchers shook their fists and shouted as they passed the city's
historic stock exchange, before congregating by the hundreds outside the
ornate City Hall.
"Stand up Paris! Rise Up!" protesters shouted. "Sharing will save the world!"
The Greek capital of Athens has seen near-daily strikes and protests as
the government fights to avoid bankruptcy, and Saturday was no different.
Some 2,000 rallied outside parliament against a new austerity package
being voted upon on Thursday, while teachers and civil servants held
marches elsewhere in the city. In Thessaloniki, Greece's second city,
3,000 took part in a peaceful protest.
Several hundreds more marched in the German cities of Berlin, Cologne and
Munich and the Austrian capital of Vienna, while protesters in Zurich,
Switzerland's financial hub, carried banners reading "We won't bail you
out yet again" and "We are the 99 percent."
That referred to the world's richest one percent, who control billions in
assets while billions of others are struggling to make ends meet.
In Brussels, thousands of marched through the downtown chanting "Criminal
bankers caused this crisis!" and pelted the stock exchange building with
Protesters also accused NATO, which has its headquarters in Brussels, of
wasting taxpayer money on the wars in Libya and Afghanistan, saying that
one European soldier deployed to Afghanistan costs the equivalent of 11
high school teachers.
Some 300 activists rallied in Helsinki with homemade signs and stalls full
of art and food.
Across the Atlantic, hundreds protested near the Toronto Stock Exchange
and the headquarters of major Canadian banks to decry what they called
government-abetted corporate greed. Protests were also being held in
Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax and Winnipeg.
In New York, hundreds marched on a Chase bank to protest the role banks
played in the financial crisis, and demonstrations culminated in an
"Occupation Party" in Times Square.
In South Africa, about 50 activists rallied outside the Johannesburg Stock
Exchange to demand more jobs, free education and universal healthcare.
Support for the anti-capitalist protest movement was light in Asia, where
the global economy is booming. About 300 people turned out in Sydney,
while another 200 chanted anti-nuclear slogans outside the Tokyo Electric
Power Co., which operates the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear
plant. In the Philippines, 100 people marched on the U.S. Embassy in