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Occupy Capitalism: ‘No freedom of press in London’




London Stock exchange occupation blocked

Anti-capitalist protests that started with the Occupy Wall Street movement on Saturday spread to London and other cities.

Thousands of people descended on the area around the London Stock Exchange in a bid to replicate the huge demonstrations which have been taking place in New York.

A spokesman for the protesters said: “We are doing this to challenge the bankers and the financial institutions which recklessly gambled our economy. This occupation and 20 other occupations all around the UK have been directly inspired by what’s happening all across America and especially Wall Street.”

Activists had planned to take over Paternoster Square, where the Stock Exchange is located, but police cordoned off the area. Instead, protesters returned to their previous position in front of St Paul’s Cathedral.

As night fell, they announced their intention to set up a campsite in St Paul’s Churchyard, putting up tents and portaloos on one side of the square. However, Scotland Yard made it clear police would not allow the campsite in front of the cathedral, saying such a move would be “illegal and disrespectful”.

The force said they had made efforts to ensure the protest was largely peaceful. Three arrests were made – two for assault on police and one for a public order offence.

Well-known activists including Julian Assange and Peter Tatchell were among the protesters. Mr Assange, creator of the Wikileaks website, addressed the crowds on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Protests also took place on the streets of Edinburgh and Dublin, which passed off peacefully. More than 100 demonstrators turned out to protest in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, while hundreds also took to the streets of Dublin.

Anna Jones, a supporter of Occupy London Stock Exchange said: “So far, we have already seen a disproportionate amount of force by the police against protesters who are occupying the area outside St Paul’s… The only crime that the police can pin on people is one of having a conversation about real democracy and the unfair and unequal economic system that favours the rich and powerful.”

In Italy, however, police fired tear gas and water cannons as protesters turned the demonstration against corporate greed into a riot, smashing shop and bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles.

Source:  UK Press Association

Arrests at anti-capitalist protests in London

PROTESTERS at an anti-capitalism rally in London have been arrested.

Three campaigners were nabbed by officers, who managed to stop a planned occupation of the London Stock Exchange.

Several hundred protesters from the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement were stopped from entering Paternoster Square today. It came after reports a High Court injunction had been issued to prevent members of the public from accessing the area.

After the attempt to occupy Paternoster Square failed miserably, the protesters returned to outside St Paul’s Cathedral, a position they have held for several weeks. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addressed the crowds, talking about police oppression, Wikileaks and the current economic situation.

The protesters’ spokesman said: “We are doing this to challenge the bankers and the financial institutions which recklessly gambled our economy.”

He also spoke of a further 20 occupations being planned around the UK, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Activists carried banners with slogans such as “Bankers got a bailout, we got sold out” and “We are the 99%”.

Canadian Lorena Fuentes, a charity worker, said: “I’m here today because I can’t see why you wouldn’t be and I feel that this is one of the few moments in history where it’s not a protest, it’s an actual movement that’s taken root.

“We’re trying to challenge this myth that there are not enough resources to go around.”

Berlin... German demonstrators take part in protests

Berlin… German demonstrators take part in protests

Protesters also marched in cities across the world in support of those occupying Wall Street, America’s financial centre.

There were demonstrations in New Zealand and Australia, and the movement’s website said that 951 protests would take place in cities across 82 countries. It is unclear whether that target was reached. The group’s website calls for people to “rise up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy.”

Rome... demos over finance fears were all over the world

Rome… demos over finance fears were all over the world

The demonstrations are against corruption and capitalism, and are a reaction to the global financial crisis. The Occupy Wall Street protests began in Canada last month, and have spread across the globe. In Frankfurt, some 5000 people protested outside the European Central Bank.

The movement has received celebrity endorsement too, as a group of 100 prominent authors, including Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman signed an online petition declaring their support for the movement.

Source: News Group Newspapers Limited 

‘Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world

Thousands march in Rome, Sydney and Madrid as Occupy Wall Street protests go global

By:  and 

Saturday 15 October 2011 21.26 BST

Economic protests inspired by Spain‘s “Indignants” and the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York spread to cities around the world on Saturday. Tens of thousands went on the march in London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome, Sydney and Hong Kong as organisers aimed to “initiate global change” against capitalism and austerity measures. Rallies were expected in 82 countries.

As dusk fell on more than 2,000 protesters assembled in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, earlier addressed by the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, New York was bracing itself for a takeover of Times Square in a continuation of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Manhattan has seen a regular encampment of protesters in Zuccotti Park and violent clashes with police and officials.

There was civil unrest in Rome, where police turned teargas and water cannon on the crowds. Smoke hung over Rome as a small group broke away from the main demonstration and smashed windows, set cars on fire and assaulted television news crews. Others burned Italian and EU flags. “People of Europe: Rise Up!” read one banner in Rome. Fights broke out and bottles were thrown between demonstrators as some tried to stop the violence.

In London, police made seven arrests and kept the crowd “kettled” near St Paul’s. Assange made a dramatic appearance, bursting through the police lines just after 2.30pm, accompanied by scores of supporters. To clapping and some booing, he climbed the cathedral steps to condemn “greed” and “corruption”. In particular he attacked the City of London, accusing its financiers of money laundering and tax avoidance. “The banking system in London is the recipient of corrupt money,” he said, adding that WikiLeaks would launch a campaign against financial institutions.

Assange is on bail as he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over claims of rape and sexual molestation made by two women.

Among the protesters there was a sizeable presence from Spain, home of the “Indignant” movement. Media student Sergio, 27, said he hoped London would copy protests in Madrid, where camps have been set up for weeks at a time. “Initially there were only three tents, but when the police kicked them out hundreds followed. I hope we see the same here,” he said.

By mid-afternoon seven tents had been erected in bright sunshine outside St Paul’s. Audrey Versteegen, 27, from Manchester, owned one. “I will stay here as long as possible,” she said.

Assange aside, perhaps the strangest event of the day came when a bride arrived at the side-chapel in St Paul’s. Across the road, scores of police were changing into riot gear as she entered the cathedral. It was clear that Scotland Yard had opted for pre-emptive strong-arm tactics in the wake of the summer riots. Last week the new Met commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, had pledged to “win days of action”.

Tens of thousands of people take a part in a demonstration in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on Saturday, part of the global movement against corporate greed. Photograph: Arturo Rodriguez/AP

In Germany, about 4,000 people marched through the streets of Berlin, with banners calling for an end to capitalism. Some scuffled with police as they tried to get near parliamentary buildings. In Frankfurt, continental Europe’s financial capital, some 5,000 people protested in front of the European Central Bank.

In the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, marchers carried pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read “Death to capitalism, freedom to the people”.

Another 500 people gathered at a peaceful rally in Stockholm, holding up red flags and banners that read “We are the 99%” – a reference to the richest 1% of the world’s population who control its assets while billions live in poverty.

“There are those who say the system is broke. It’s not,” trade union activist Bilbo Goransson shouted into a megaphone. “That’s how it was built. It is there to make rich people richer.”

A protest was due to begin in Lisbon and six marches were expected to converge on Madrid’s Puerta del Sol plaza. Asian nations, where the fallout from the banking crisis has been less severe, saw less well attended protests – 100 turned out in the Philippines.

A group of 100 prominent authors including Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and Pulitzer prize-winning novelists Jennifer Egan and Michael Cunningham signed an online petition declaring their support for “Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement around the world”.

Source: The Guardian

Occupy Wall St. comes to Canada

Protestors set up camp in a Toronto park

by Nicholas Köhler, and Richard Warnica on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

One of the first arrivals early this morning at Bay and King, the financial district launch spot for today’s Occupy Toronto demonstration, was a transgendered woman named Stephanie who parked her silver Dodge Dakota SLT pickup truck on the southwest corner, erected a hefty P.A. system, a microphone and stand, and began blasting dated top-40 hits at high volume into the gathering crowd. At one point, Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible”, from 1988, welcomes the arrival of young people in Guy Fawkes masks and skinny jeans.

Her sound equipment, pink Roots sweatshirt and skirt, as well as her wide shoulders and commanding style, evidently persuaded police and at least a few protestors to identify her as a principle organizer. Officers stopped on their bicycles to discuss with her the route the protestors would march. “We’re going to shut down a few streets and make some noise,” Stephanie told someone nearby. “They’re giving us no hassle.”

The corner had over a period of an hour or so become bloated with people—perhaps a thousand, but it was hard to tell. Not far away, a young boy, maybe 10 or 11, stood with his brother as the backdrop for a television reporter’s standup. The boy wore a black baseball cap perched backwards on his head; a tuft of blond hair popped out from the front. He looked healthy and middle class. “We are the 99 per cent,” his sign read.

“What time is it,” Stephanie asked someone. “Ten-thirty? I think we should start moving.” Another organizer with red hair said the idea was to wait a little longer. A young woman with dark hair strode up. “I just came back from Wall Street,” she told Stephanie, referring to the Occupy mobilization that for the past month has been headquartered in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, near New York’s financial district, protesting greed and inspiring echo movements across North America, including this one.

Stephanie approached her microphone and, her voice booming, greeted the crowd. “We’re going to share this mike today,” she told them. Suddenly, a stranger commandeered the P.A. system—an older man in a straw cowboy hat and grey mustache who began describing people eating garbage from the bins below a window at his home.

“Sir, sir, we’re using the people’s mike,” pleaded a younger man wearing a green top hat affixed with a luxurious red feather—the well-known environmental activist Dave Vasey. The man at the mike—Eddie Tilley, a 59-year-old unemployed carpenter—continued nevertheless. The younger activists standing behind him nervously began tapping Tilley’s shoulder. Someone cut the mike.

“Mike check!” one activist cried. “Mike check,” the crowd, now spread out across Bay Street, responded, in a strong and stentorian unison. This was the “people’s mike,” perhaps the Occupy movement’s most central custom. Someone takes the floor by crying “Mike check” and begins speaking in short bursts that are then repeated by the crowd in one voice, allowing others to hear from afar.

It was in this way—now that the floor had been taken by a core group of organizers—that it was announced the crowd would march three blocks away from the headquarters of the big banks on Bay Street to St. James Park, a piece of municipal greenery next to a church. St. James wasn’t perfect, as even Vasey admitted. “I mean, it’s close to the financial district,” he said in an interview, “which is where we want to be. But unfortunately, there aren’t many commons left. And you just can’t, in a strategic sense, go on private property, because you’ll get evicted right away.”

The mob crawled without incident north to Adelaide and turned east. This is a maniacally self-documenting movement: every second protester had a camera, many of them high-end shooters. Others carted tents and camping gear. Unions were well represented, the multi-coloured banners of big labour fluttering in the strong, cold winds and turning the crowd surprisingly grey. Meanwhile, Occupy Toronto marshals wearing orange arm bands directed the protestors, a display of good planning. “Arrest the 1%,” one sign read. “The only gay I hate is politicians sucking corporate cock,” read another.

In a departure from last summer’s G20 demonstrations, not one police cruiser was visible; instead, officers on low-key cycles monitored the scene. The occupiers set up in St. James. A logistics committee chose the location beforehand and signs of organization, including caution tape demarcating spaces like a clinic and media centre, were already visible by the time the crowd arrived. Within a couple of hours, the place had been transformed into a marketplace of left-leaning ideas, an accumulation of soapboxes, an activists’ trade fair.

Many of the participants here are veterans of earlier fights. Vasey is best known as the first person arrested at last year’s G20 demonstrations; he spoke of fighting against Canadian mining practices oversees and the environmental toll of Alberta’s oilsands. Other organizers have popped up in the periodic fights against Mayor Rob Ford. (“Save Transit City,” read the button on one of their backpacks. “Atwood For Mayor,” another proclaimed.) Anti-war demonstrators chanted near one banner. Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents flight attendants locked in a battle with Air Canada, were particularly vocal, chanting and reading speeches near the street corner for hours.

In the park itself, many looked set up for a long stay. More than a dozen tents and tarps were erected and volunteers were handing already out food. Vasey says Saturday night will give organizers a better sense of how many plan to actually occupy the space. “But this is also about building the infrastructure to resist,” he says. “Don’t underestimate the power of the 1,000 plus cities that are doing this.”

Source: Rogers Communications

Occupy Wall Street Protest Culminates With 6,000 in Times Square

By: Esmé E. Deprez

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) — Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York City today culminated with a Times Square rally that drew thousands opposed to economic inequality, echoed by protests from London to Tokyo.

Participants in the month-old movement marched past a JPMorgan Chase & Co. branch early in the day to urge clients to close accounts. Twenty-four were arrested later at a Citigroup Inc. office, the police said, and about 6,000 gathered in Times Square, the organizers estimated.

Hong Kong, Sydney, Toronto and other cities also saw protests, which turned violent in Rome, in what organizers called a “global day of action against Wall Street greed.” Backers say they represent “the 99 percent,” a nod to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s study showing the top 1 percent of Americans control 40 percent of U.S. wealth.

“The world will rise up as one and say, ‘We have had enough,’” Patrick Bruner, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, said in an e-mail. A news release from the organization said there were demonstrations in 1,500 cities worldwide, including 100 in the U.S.

New York participants walked from an encampment in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza near Wall Street. They passed out fliers urging clients to transfer accounts to “a financial institution that supports the 99 percent.”

The fliers provided a list of alternatives, including the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union and Amalgamated Bank, described as the nation’s only union-owned bank.

Message to Banks

“I’m interested in sending a message to support banks that actually support the community as opposed to those like Chase that took government money and fired workers anyway,” said Penny Lewis, 40, a City University of New York labor professor. She said she planned to close her Chase account on Monday.

Howard Opinsky, a Chase spokesman, declined to comment. The second-largest U.S. bank received and repaid $25 billion from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

A group left a demonstration at Washington Square Park and entered a downtown branch of Citibank at nearby LaGuardia Place, Deputy New York City Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in an e-mail.

They refused the bank manager’s request to leave and 24 were arrested for trespassing, he said. One was charged additionally with resisting; the others were compliant, he said.

More than 700 have been arrested in New York since the movement began Sept. 17, mostly for disorderly conduct. Police said they arrested 15 yesterday for infractions such as sitting in the street and overturning trash bins.

Confrontation Avoided

A wider confrontation was avoided after Zuccotti Park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties Inc., postponed a cleanup that would have removed and banned protestors’ sleeping bags, tents and other gear that provided overnight accommodations.

Protesters and local politicians had gathered 300,000 signatures, flooded the city’s 311 information line and drew more than 3,000 people to the park to oppose the cleanup, Bruner said.

The protesters have sought to transform Zuccotti Park into a self-sustaining community with donated food, medical supplies, hygiene products, sleeping bags and clothing. Pete Dutro, a member of the group’s finance committee, said it had received at least $150,000 in donations.

Justin Strekal, a Cleveland native and member of the protestors’ shipping, inventory and storage committee, said about 200 packages are being received daily. He said names and return addresses are being recorded so thank-you notes can be sent.

Letters of Support

Letters of solidarity are also being archived to post online, he said. One that was included in a box holding 10 packets of ramen noodles said the sender couldn’t afford more because they were unemployed for two years and their house was in foreclosure, Strekal said.

David Gorman, who lives on Wall Street and works nearby as president of capital markets at Kern Suslow Securities Inc., said the area’s activity is a nuisance.

“They’re banging drums and screaming and it’s a quarter to eight in the morning and this is literally in my back yard,” he said. “People live here. If someone was protesting in front of my house in the suburbs, I don’t think they’d let that happen.”

The Occupy Wall Street protest has spread to U.S. cities including Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. While New York’s participants have been allowed to stay at their encampment, other cities haven’t been as tolerant.

Near the Colorado state Capitol in Denver, police in riot gear took down protesters’ campsite and arrested two dozen people, the Associated Press reported. In San Diego, police used pepper spray to split up a human chain formed around a tent, the news agency said. In Trenton, New Jersey, police removed tents and other gear from an area near a war memorial yesterday.

Occupy Wall Street builds in Denver

By Sarah Ford

Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More than 200 protesters rallied again on the steps of the Denver Capitol Building last Saturday in support of the spreading rallies against corporate greed that started in New York’s financial district.

The group continued their slogan chants of "We are the 99 percent" and "This is what democracy looks like," while they assembled at the capitol. The protesters marched through the streets of Denver, including gathering and protesting in front of the Federal Reserve.

"I’m here because, as a law student, I’ve seen how corruption can affect and permeate the law itself," said DU law student Daniel Garcia.

He also said he was concerned with the amount of debt he has accumulated throughout graduate school at the Sturm College of Law and believes the government is not supporting students who must build up large loans to attend college.

"Money should not be equivalent to voice," he said.

As the Occupy movement continues with great strength both in Denver and throughout the country and world, more students have taken up the cause with the movement to protest college debt, access to health care and a myriad of other issues.

"I’m just here as a college student worried about my future," said Hoyt Parkinson, a student at Colorado Mountain College. "This is a democracy, and people need to have a voice and use it."

Within the last week, the Occupy movement has seen both an increase in support throughout the world, as well as a rise in media coverage. There have been demonstrations in approximately 1,025 cities, according to the events document by On Saturday alone there were over 20 movements in other cities besides Denver, including Modesto and Napa, Calif., Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Portland, Ore., Albany, N.Y., Philadelphia and Bismarck, N.D.

Protesters also began in "General Assembly" meetings to discuss the direction of their movement.

"We have been threatened and intimidated," said one protester at the Occupy Denver rally in a "talk-back," in which one protester speaks his opinion in front of the group who echoes back each sentence. "But if you think that’s going to scare us away, you’re wrong."

Some members of the movement also camped out in the Civic Center Park in direct view of the capitol. About 20 tents can be seen from the steps where protesters have set up a permanent home. This action follows the hundreds who continue to camp out in New York’s Zuccotti Park.

The group has not released a list of goals for the movement, preferring to focus on garnering support. The released a declaration expressing the core meaning of the movement. It lists a range of issues with corporations and calls the people to action.

"Our system must protect our rights, and, upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights and those of their neighbors," it reads. "No true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality, run our governments."

"To live in the future it’s important to care now," said protester George Laws, who received a Masters in social work but has been out of work for four years after he was laid off by his construction company. "We don’t need a change in laws. What we need is a new paradigm based on respect."

This statement expresses the larger belief of the Occupy movement: respect for hard-working average citizens. Many come protesting their large amounts of debt, lack of a job, health care and desire for equal pay.

"I was paid $7.28 for a job in social work," said Laws. "We need to wake up and find a heart."

However, response to the movement, has seen controversy from those who believe the protesters are fighting a necessary part of society, including corporations, many Republicans and more. They argue that the financial corporations are fundamental to a fully-functioning economy and that the protesters are arguing against a necessary portion of the financial stability of the country.

Protesters continue to march, saying they represent those who have not joined the movement or are unaware of its message.

"If you have time to go have a beer or go to a party or talk for an hour on the phone with your friend, you have time to find out what we’re about," said Garcia.

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