Activists launch worldwide protests

Sunday, October 16, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, October 15, 2011

Protesters launched worldwide street demonstrations Saturday against corporate greed and biting cutbacks in a rolling action targetting 951 cities in 82 countries.

Inspired by America’s “Occupy Wall Street” and Spain’s “Indignants”, people took to the streets in Sydney, Hong Kong and Tokyo in the opening hours of the unprecedented global outcry.

It was the biggest show of power yet by a movement born on May 15 when a rally in Madrid’s central square of Puerta del Sol sparked a protest that spread internationally.

Anger over unemployment and opposition to the financial elite hung over the protests, which coincided with a Paris meeting of G20 financial powers pre-occupied by the eurozone debt crisis.

But the demands and the sense of urgency among the activists varied depending on the city.

While hundreds protested in Asian cities, for example, up to 200,000 are reportedly expected in Rome where many are furious at Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s handling of a sovereign debt crisis.

Around 500 people gathered in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district to vent their anger at the inequities and excesses of free-market capitalism, while demonstrators in Tokyo also voiced fury at the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Wong Weng-chi, a demonstrator from a group calling themselves “Left 21″, said the “Occupy Central” rally in Hong Kong was more than just an act of solidarity with the Wall Street protest, which began in September.

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