Protests were held across Europe on Sunday as anti-capitalist “Occupy'' campaigners took to the streets amid growing anger over their governments' market-driven policies that have resulted in millions of job losses and plunged the continent into its worst post-war economic crisis. Rallies were also held in other world capitals and major cities, including Moscow and New York, as part of a “day of global action'' against rampant capitalism.
Protesters, demanding an end to bank bail-outs and swingeing public spending cuts, targeted financial institutions seen as “symbols'' of capitalist “greed''.
In London, hundreds of campaigners gathered in the City, Britain's financial hub, and pitched tents outside the Bank of England with banners reading “Bank of England is the St Paul's of Money” and “A Line of Tents Guards Our Future”.
They were joined by activists of the Spanish protest group “Indignants” campaigning against the impact of the Spanish government's austerity measures on youth unemployment.
“The Bank of England stands right at the intersection of finance and government. Hundreds of people gathering by the Bank of England is a powerful symbol of how things have to change,” said an “Occupy'' spokesman.
Initially, the mood was festive with young men and women entertaining the crowd and tourists with impromptu dances but as the day wore tension was reported.
There were minor skirmishes as the police tried to evict them with protesters alleging that some police officers used “unreasonable force''.
Similar protests were held in Lisbon, Frankfurt, Athens, Barcelona and Madrid. In Madrid, protesters planned to occupy the city's central Puerta del Sol square to mark the first anniversary of their “occupation'' of the square.