Occupy Wall Street Spreads to Europe, Violent Clashes Arise

Occupy Wall Street Spreads to Europe, Violent Clashes Arise

The movement spurs riots in Italy.

Published October 15, 2011

Protesters hurl objects at police in Rome, Saturday. They also smashed shop windows and torched cars as violence broke out during a demonstration in the Italian capital, part of worldwide protests against corporate greed and austerity measures. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests that originated with Canadian activists and spread to cities across the U.S., moved Saturday to Asia and Europe, linking up with anti-austerity demonstrations that have raged across the debt-ridden continent for months.



Supporters of Occupy Wall Street continue to show that the movement has no national borders, as demonstrations condemning corporate greed sprung up throughout major cities in Europe on Saturday.


While the protests in the States have been mostly peaceful, they took a violent turn in Italy as police fired tear gas and water cannons in Rome to quell the crowds. Protesters reportedly smashed store and bank windows, set cars on fire and hurled bottles during Saturday’s demonstrations, which took place in the streets near the Colosseum. Bank ATMs were also destroyed and at least two news crews caught in the melee were assaulted, The Associated Press reports. Dozens were injured.



In Frankfurt, Germany, about 5,000 people ascended upon European Central Bank. Some were setting up a tent camp aimed at permanently occupying the green space in front of the ECB building. The push continued as several hundred more marched in the German cities of Berlin, Cologne and Munich and in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Protesters in Zurich, Switzerland's financial hub, carried banners that said: "We won't bail you out yet again" and "We are the 99 percent."


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange made an appearance outside St. Paul's cathedral in London before hundreds of spectators. “This movement is not about the destruction of law, it is about the construction of law,” Assange told the crowd.


In Spain, the protesters, nicknamed “the indignant,” launched six marches that converged on Madrid's Puerta del Sol plaza on Saturday. The group, The Indignant Movement, established the first around-the-clock "occupation" protest camps in cities and towns across the country in May, which lasted for weeks.  


In Portugal, a group stormed downtown Lisbon to express anger over the government’s handling of the country’s economic crisis. Portugal is one of three European nations — including Greece and Ireland — that have already needed an international bailout.


(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Written by Britt Middleton


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