Global ‘Occupy’ protests run gamut
As the anti-corporate protest movement Occupy Wall Street went global this weekend, it led to conflict in rough proportion to the economic problems of each country, from tear-gas and arson in debt-crippled Italy, to peaceful consensus and free sandwiches in comparably well-off Canada.
Police and protesters fought openly in the streets of Rome, a political hotspot in the Eurozone debt problem, where solidarity is strong for Occupy Wall Street and the indignados of Spain. Vehicles were torched, roads blockaded, a bomb detonated, and a church’s statue of the Virgin Mary smashed to bits.
Twenty-thousand marched in Portugal’s capital Lisbon, according to reports, another of the near-bankrupt so-called PIGS of Europe, with Italy, Greece and Spain.
In London, police warned protesters in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, near the stock exchange, that their presence was “illegal and disrespectful,” but opted for “containment” over confrontation.
In New York, where protesters have grown from a downtown park into a microcosm of an underemployed nation, burdened with bad debt, and resentful of banks who pursued profit to economic collapse, thousands marched on Times Square, and nearly 100 people were arrested. Even more were held in Chicago, and 46 in Phoenix, as the Occupy movement took hold nationally.
But in Canada, where Adbusters magazine in Vancouver became the wellspring of the movement this summer by publishing the first call to “Occupy Wall Street,” all was more or less calm.
Photo: Protesters wear pig masks and business suits at the Vancouver Art Gallery at the Occupy Vancouver protest in Vancouver, on the weekend. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)