Wall Street Occupation Goes Global Saturday
By Alastair MacDonald
14 October 11
For an October revolution, dress warm.
Only time will tell what a growing global social movement can muster, but the energy is discernible and the momentum remains in favor of a new kind of change. That’s the word going out – politely – on the Web to rally street protests on Saturday around the globe from New Zealand to Alaska via London, Frankfurt, Washington and, of course, New York, where the past month’s Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired a worldwide yell of anger at banks and financiers.
How many will show up, let alone stay to camp out to disrupt city centres for days, or months, to come, is anyone’s guess. The hundreds at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park were calling for back-up on Friday, fearing imminent eviction. Rome expects tens of thousands at a national protest of more traditional stamp.
Few other police forces expect more than a few thousand to turn out on the day for what is billed as an exercise in social media-spread, Arab Spring-inspired, grassroots democracy with an emphasis on peaceful, homespun debate, as seen among Madrid’s “indignados” in June or at the current Wall Street park sit-in.
Blogs and Facebook pages devoted to “October 15″ – #O15 on Twitter – abound with exhortations to keep the peace, bring an open mind, a sleeping bag, food and warm clothing; in Britain, “Occupy London Stock Exchange” is at pains to stress it does not plan to actually, well, occupy the stock exchange.
That may turn off those with a taste for the kind of anarchic violence seen in London in August, at anti-capitalism protests of the past decade and at some rallies against spending cuts in Europe this year. But, as Karlin Younger of consultancy Control Risks said: “When there’s a protest by an organisation that’s very grassroots, you can’t be sure who will show up.”