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Rage against the politicians and capitalists who have driven the global financial system into the ground is being aired today from one end of the world to the other in a massive coordination of support protests to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Under the banner #GlobalChange, today has seen people from Sydney to Manila, to Rome and London, take to the streets to claim justice in their financial and political system.
In London, UK, up to 300 people gathered in front of St Paul’s Cathedral for the Occupy the London Stock Exchange. Organizers had garnered support through social media sites and were hoping to occupy Paternoster Square in a tribute to the original Occupy movement which is occupying Zuccotti Park in New York City.
The demonstration walked peacefully to the square where they chanted “We are the 99%,” according to Lisa O’Carroll from The Guardian, who was at the scene. The 99% refers to the so-called percentage of society who had to suffer for the profit of the last 1%. The 1% represents the wealthiest people who benefitted, and still do, from the financial crash and bailout of the banks.
Around 2PM GMT, the mood of the protest, which had been conducted fairly cheerful and calm, changed and The Guardian could report that apparently Julian Assange had joined the proceedings in London. The international day of action, October 15, was marked in other cities through marches and gatherings.
In Manila, the Philippines, demonstrators held up outside the U.S. embassy with banners, denouncing “U.S.-led wars and aggression,” according to the Associated Press and Reuters. Hundreds of people gathered in the main street of Auckland, New Zealand, banging drums and chanting against corporate greed.
Around 2000 protesters gathered outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney and a spokesman for OccupyMelbourne.Org told Reuters about the Melbourne event: “I think people want real democracy.” In Tokyo, Japan, the demonstration included anti-nuclear protesters.
Both Greece and Italy also joined in the global rally, with students in Milan opening up early for pandora’s box on Friday, vandalizing Goldman Sachs’ offices and headquarters of the bank UniCredit. In Rome, organizers were expecting the biggest show-up of around 100,000 people.
One participant told Reuters “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.” Back in London, the Metropolitan Police informed the media that they’ve only made one arrest today.
The demonstration failed to occupy Paternoster Square and have moved back to St Paul’s Cathedral. The sudden arrival of the notorious Wikileaks founder brought a bit of grassroots celebrity star power to the event. Mark Townsend of The Guardian said that Assange made his way to the crowd and “began attacking a greedy and corrupt system that had united individuals from Cairo to London.”
He also argued that the movement is about the construction of law and not its destruction. As participants hit the streets in cities around the US, the movement will see the circle completed this October 15. Click here to watch pictures from the events around the world.