WORLD

'Occupy' protests go global

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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.

Protesters take to the streets in South Korea. (Photo: Associated Press)

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 old shoes.

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 Manila.

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