The movement that began as a protest in New York City spread quickly across the United States and now, the world. People are protesting in London, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Rome as a part of Occupy Wall Street.
Organizers of the protests said that there were demonstrations in 951 cities in 82 countries. People protest government cut backs, economic inequality, lack of jobs, and corporate greed. Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, except in Rome where people began smashing car windows, throwing rocks, and lighting store fronts on fire. Police attempted to stop people with tear gas and 70 people were injured during the protest. The video below shows the Rome protests.
The Wall Street movement was inspired by Spanish protests this summer. These protests against government concerns for financial markets began in May and continued all summer. The Washington Post says that this, in conjunction with the Wall Street movement, helped create the worldwide uproar.
In London, thousands of activists sat outside the London Stock Exchange, but they were told to leave the private property by police. They also gathered outside of St. Paul’s Cathederal, near the financial district, to protest. This blog by NBC documents the protests in London. In Switzerland, the occupy movement took place in Geneva, Bern, and Basel. Some tram lines were closed because there were so many people occupying the streets that they blocked traffic. People also camped out in Zurich, the financial capitol of Switzerland, to urge changes to banks, the government, and financial systems.
It is also interesting to note the differences in media coverage globally. One French writer questions why the French radicals are not joining in the protests. Some German publications are saying the protests will be short-lived while other German papers, such as “Die Welt” marks the protests as anti-capitalist. Several Arab and European news outlets see the protests as relatable to their own. China’s media (which is owned by the government) is not impressed by the protests. Xinhua, a Chinese government news agency, used headlines including, “Occupy Wall Street Protestors Refuse to Leave For Park Cleaning,” and “Wall Street Protestors Stage a Millionaires March.” One article said, “Occupy Wall Street protesters said on Thursday that they plan to stay in Zuccotti park to prevent a park cleaning which is to take place on Friday morning.” This was used as the article’s lead and gives the impression that the protests are against park cleaning, which they clearly are not. The article clarifies (towards the end) that the protests are for government reform. I find it interesting to see how the Wall Street movement is covered differently depending on which country the articles are published in and that it is quickly spreading across the globe.