Rome in flames as ‘global day of revolution’ sees Wall Street protests spread across the world

Violence erupts in Rome as Occupy Wall Street protests spread to hundreds of cities
Protesters to march on New York’s Times Square today
Giulianai says he would stopped protesters sleeping on street

Last updated at 6:27 PM on 15th October 2011

Demonstrators rallied on Saturday across the world to accuse bankers and politicians of wrecking economies, but only in Rome did the global ‘day of rage’ erupt into violence.

Protesters there smashed shop windows and torched cars as violence broke out during a demonstration in the Italian capital.

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 at least two vehicles on fire and assaulted two news crews of Sky Italia, the TV reported. Others burned Italian and European Union flags.

Danger: A protester hurls a canister towards police next to a burning car during clashes in Rome as Occupy Wall Street goes global and violent

Italy: Protesters hurl objects at police in Rome as well as smashing shop windows and torching cars during a demonstration in the Italian capital

Drastic measures: Police officers fire tear gas in Rome after the Occupy Wall Street protests turned violent today in the Italian capital

Violence: A demonstrator hits a photojournalist during a demonstration of the ‘Indignant’ group against banking and finance in Rome today as another hurls a bottle at police

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has said that he would have told the Occupy Wall Street protesters that they were not allowed to sleep on the streets.

‘Well I had a rule and I enforced it as best I could and pretty effectively,’ he told Sean Hannity on Fox News. ‘The rule was: You’re not allowed to sleep on the streets. Sorry, not allowed to sleep on the streets. Streets are not for sleeping.’

‘Sleeping on the streets is a dysfunctional act. It harms the person, it harms society, it leads to unsanitary conditions that affect public health,’ added mayor Bloomberg’s predecessor who served as mayor between 1994 and 2001.

‘The first one who decided to sleep there should have been removed and then the second one, and the third one, and the fourth one and the fifth one.
‘They can protest during the daytime if they want to, but if you want to stay over in New York City overnight, you got to rent a room, and if you’re homeless we got plenty of shelters for you.’

Italian police fired tear gas and water cannons as protesters who had smashed shop and bank windows, torched cars and hurled bottles.

It came a day after Premier Silvio Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote. Italy, with a national debt ratio second only to Greece in the 17-nation eurozone, is rapidly becoming a focus of concern in Europe’s debt crisis.

‘People of Europe: Rise Up!’ read a banner in Rome. Some peaceful demonstrators turned against the violent group and tried to stop them, hurling bottles at them, Sky and the ANSA news agency reported. Others fled, scared by the violence.

Demonstrators worldwide shouted their rage against bankers and politicians they accuse of ruining economies and condemning millions to hardship through greed and bad government but most other protests were carried off peacefully.

Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled round the world to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York.

Organizers hoped to see non-violent demonstrations in 951 cities in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa in addition to every state in the United States.

‘At the global level, we can’t carry on any more with public debt that wasn’t created by us but by thieving governments, corrupt banks and speculators who don’t give a damn about us,’ said Nicla Crippa, 49, who wore a T-shirt saying ‘enough’ as she arrived at the Rome protest.

‘They caused this international crisis and are still profiting from it, they should pay for it.’

Burning city: Tens of thousands marched in Rome as the Italian capital was placed under a security lockdown when activists turned violent

Damage: Demonstrators walk past a broken statue of the Virgin Mary during worlwide protests against corporate greed and austerity measures

Germany: People protest against structures of the current global financial system with posters in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt

Italy: Protesters look at a parked car on fire during a demonstration, in downtown Rome after tens of thousands marched today as part of a global day of protests

Global: Violence erupted on the streets of Rome, right , as thousands took to the streets spurred on by the Occupy Wall Street movement, left

The Rome protesters, including the unemployed, students and pensioners, planned to march through the centre, past the Colosseum and finish in Piazza San Giovanni.

Some 2,000 police were on hand to keep the Rome demonstrators, who call themselves ‘the indignant ones’, peaceful and to avoid a repeat of the violence last year when students protesting over education policy clashed with police.

As some 750 buses bearing protesters converged on the capital, students at Rome university warmed up with their own mini-demo on Saturday morning.

Force: Italian police fired tear gas and water cannons as protesters who had smashed shop and bank windows, torched cars and hurled bottles

Sweden: A protester holds a banner reading Capitalism is also a Dictator’ as she takes part in the Occupy Stockholm demonstration held at Sergels Torg

Stockholm: Protesters launched worldwide street demonstrations on October 15 against corporate greed and biting cutbacks in a rolling action targetting 951 cities in 82 countries

Taiwan: Taiwan: A participant holds a placard reading ‘Can’t raise a family, Can’t support a country’, left, in Tapei while others sings songs to keep up spirits

The carried signs reading ‘Your Money is Our Money’, and ‘Yes We Camp’, an echo of the slogan ‘Yes We Can’ used by U.S. President Barack Obama.

In imitation of the occupation of Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in Manhattan, some protesters have been camped out across the street from the headquarters of the Bank of Italy for several days.

The worldwide protests were a response in part to calls by the New York demonstrators for more people to join them.

Most rallies were however small, non-violent and barely held up traffic.

Their example has prompted calls for similar occupations in dozens of U.S. cities from Saturday.

Demonstrators in Italy were united in their criticism of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and angry at his victory in a vote of confidence in parliament on Friday.

The government has passed a 60 billion-euro austerity package that has raised taxes and will make public health care more expensive.

South Korea: Protesters participate in an Occupy Seoul rally in support of the Occupy Wall Street protest against corporate power

Spain: Protesters practice yoga at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, before the demonstration to be held in the afternoon

Hong Kong: A man holds a placard during a protest to express anger at ‘the inequities and excesses of free-market capitalism’ in Hong Kong on October 15

On Friday students stormed Goldman Sachs’s offices in Milan and daubed red graffiti. Others hurled eggs at the headquarters of UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank.

New Zealand and Australia got the ball rolling on Saturday. Several hundred people marched up the main street in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, joining a rally at which 3,000 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.

In Sydney, about 2,000 people, including representatives of Aboriginal groups, communists and trade unionists, protested outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia.

‘I think people want real democracy,’ said Nick Carson, a spokesman for OccupyMelbourne.Org, as about 1,000 gathered in the Australian city.

‘They don’t want corporate influence over their politicians. They want their politicians to be accountable.’

Hundreds marched in Tokyo, including anti-nuclear protesters. Participants marched outside the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, chanting anti-nuclear slogans, while opposing the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade bloc that Japan is considering joining.

In Manila, capital of the Philippines, about one hundred people marched on the U.S. embassy under the Philippine left-wing alliance, Bayan, waving banners reading: ‘Down with U.S. imperialism’ and ‘Philippines not for sale’.

Worldwide: A protester climbs on the bronze statue of bull during an Occupy Hong Kong rally outside the Hong Kong Exchange Square on Saturday, as a car burns in Rome where things turned violent today

America: A protester screams as Seattle Police officers try to separate his arms linked with others hoping to prevent the removal of a tent pitched behind them in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park

Italy: Masked protesters wore masks and carried weapons as they took to the streets of Rome to protest

They carried a large banner that said, ‘Resist imperialist plunder, state repression and wars of aggression,’ and another expressing ‘Solidarity action for Occupy Wall Street’, according to MSNBC.

They also chanted ‘U.S. troops, out now!’ in reference to the presence of hundreds of U.S. soldiers, mostly in the southern Philippines, involved in anti-terrorism training of Filipino troops.

More than 100 people gathered at the Taipei stock exchange, chanting ‘we are Taiwan’s 99 percent’, and saying economic growth had only benefited companies while middle-class salaries barely covered soaring housing, education and healthcare costs.

They found support from a top businessman, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) Chairman Morris Chang.

‘I’ve been against the gap between rich and poor,’ Chang said in the northern city of Hsinchu. ‘The wealth of the top one percent has increased very fast in the past 20 or 30 years. Occupy Wall Street is a reaction to that.’

Germany: Participants protest during a demonstration at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as the world rallies against corporate greed and inequality

Netherlands: Protestors hold placards outside the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam

Australia: Man holds a placard at the Occupy Melbourne protest as they gathered at City Square for the first day

Demonstrators aimed to converge on the City of London under the banner ‘Occupy the Stock Exchange’.

‘We have people from all walks of life joining us every day,’ said Spyro, one of those behind a Facebook page in London which has drawn some 12,000 followers.

The 28-year-old, who said he had a well-paid job and did not want to give his full name, said the target of the protests as ‘the financial system’.

Angry at taxpayer bailouts of banks since 2008 and at big bonuses still paid to some who work in them while unemployment blights the lives of many young Britons, he said: ‘People all over the world, we are saying: “Enough is enough”.’

Greek protesters called an anti-austerity rally for Saturday in Athens’ Syntagma Square.

‘What is happening in Greece now is the nightmare awaiting other countries in the future. Solidarity is the people’s weapon,’ the Real Democracy group said in a statement calling on people to join the protest.

In Paris protests were expected to coincide with the G20 finance chiefs’ meeting there. In Madrid, seven marches were planned to unite in Cibeles square at 1600 GMT and then march to the central Puerta de Sol.

In Germany, where sympathy for southern Europe’s debt troubles is patchy, the financial centre of Frankfurt and the European Central Bank in particular are expected to be a focus of marches called by the Real Democracy Now movement.

In South Korea, activists began gathering on the streets of Seoul with the country’s paper, the Korea Herald reporting that a coalition of 30 local civic groups planned to hold a two-day protest in the main financial district of Yeouido and other parts of the capital.

The protesters, who have adopted slogans and imagery used by those in the U.S., say the rally is designed to motivate ’99 percent of Koreans’ to complain about the actions of the wealthiest ‘one per cent’, the paper said.

‘The situation is the same in South Korea (as the U.S.), where the financial institutions have speculated to earn high profits in a short time, creating victims,’ the coalition said in a statement, the Herald reported.

Seoul police warned that damaging public facilities, occupying roads and assaulting police officers would not be tolerated, the Herald said.

‘We will arrest those who stage illegal protests on the spot and also seek legal action even after the rally ends,’ the Seoul Metropolitan Agency said in a release, the paper reported.

In Canada, protests were planned for Saturday in cities including Montreal and Vancouver. In Toronto, demonstrators plan to gather at Canada’s main stock exchange.

In New York’s Wall Street, police have been accused of shocking brutality after videos emerged showing officers in punching Occupy Wall Street protesters and mowing them down on motorbikes.

As demonstrations turned bitterly violent, hundreds of protesters clashed with police as they marched in Manhattan – jumping over barriers, pushing over police scooters and blocking traffic.

Officers in turn seem to have responded in the most draconian manner. In one clip a policeman appears intentionally to run over a protester, trapping his leg under his motorbike’s back wheel.


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