Monday 17 October 2011

Gobal Day of Rage

15 October

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets around the world in a global day against corporate greed, banking excesses and other grievances that have crippled the world's economies.

In Madrid, tens of thousands of people converged on the central square. There were riots in Rome, protests in Paris, and at the Reichstag in Berlin police moved in to clear the area after protesters stayed beyond their allotted time. There were also demonstrations in America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

More than 950 demonstrations against the global financial system and corporate greed were held in more than 80 countries around the world yesterday.

In Madrid, the city's central square was overflowing with people supporting the "indignado" ("the indignant") movement, which has been building throughout this year as Spain's financial woes have mounted.

Tens of thousands filled the plaza and adjoining streets. Police in Barcelona estimate that 60,000 people took to the streets there and organisers in Seville, southern Spain, believe they had 20,000 people out. With another 60 cities organising protesters, and local news agencies giving numbers in their thousands or tens thousands from several of them, the overall indignado turnout rose above 200,000.  The protests were entirely peaceful, with children walking alongside parents and Spain's indignados feeling a sense of pride that their May camp-outs in the Puerta del Sol and dozens of other city squares helped inspire demonstrators around the globe.

In New York Occupy Wall Street protesters renewed their protests following yesterday's celebrations after a planned "clean-up" of their camp in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan had been called off.

In London about 1,000 protesters massed outside St Paul's Cathedral in a bid to occupy the London Stock Exchange in the nearby Paternoster Square. But the square was closed off by police and private security and the demonstration remained focused on the steps around the cathedral after attempts to enter failed.

In Rome, hundreds of hooded, masked demonstrators rampaged in some of the worst violence seen in the Italian capital for years, setting cars ablaze, breaking bank and shop windows and destroying traffic lights and signposts. Police fired volleys of tear gas and used water cannon to try to disperse militant protesters who were hurling rocks, bottles and fireworks, but clashes went on into the evening. Smoke bombs set off by protesters cast a pall over a sea of red flags and banners bearing slogans denouncing economic policies the protesters say are hurting the poor most.

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 Asia, Australia and New Zealand

In Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, 3,000 people chanted and banged drums, denouncing corporate greed. About 200 gathered in the capital Wellington and 50 in a park in the earthquake-hit southern city of Christchurch. In Sydney, Australia, about 2,000 people protested outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia.

Hundreds marched in Tokyo, including anti-nuclear protesters. In Manila a few dozen marched on the US embassy waving banners reading: "Down with US imperialism" and "Philippines not for sale".

More than 100 people gathered at the Taipei stock exchange, chanting "we are Taiwan's 99 percent" and saying economic growth had only benefited firms while middle-class salaries barely covered soaring housing, education and health care costs.

In Hong Kong, home to the Asian headquarters of investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, over 100 people gathered at Exchange Square in the Central district.

In Johannesburg about 50 protesters gathered outside Africa's biggest bourse, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, to voice concern over South Africa's widening gap between rich and poor.

In Cape Town, protesters gathered in the Company Gardens behind Parliament while in Durban counterparts gathered at City Hall. Protests were also held in Grahamstown.

Argentinean, Chilean and Mexican also joined these worldwide protests.

We can see people worldwide are restless and enraged and that a global political awakening is taking place, which is something positive. Yet, for a true global revolution we must undergo a radical revolution of values, shifting from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society, where labour is valued over capital. A revolution which involves fighting for every human being’s right to the most basic need: food; 100,000 people die of starvation or hunger-related causes every single day. A revolution which involves fighting for freedom and education for more than 400 million children that are enslaved by wars, human trafficking, debt bondage, pornography… A revolution involving more than the 85% of the 99% that we are, a revolution involving the vast majority of the world.

Are we witnessing the beginning of this revolution against corporate greed, government corruption, violence and injustice that affects the impoverished world? It is too early to pass judgment but what is true is that this revolution has indeed started in the hearts and minds of many people around the world, many people who are walking towards Utopia, a horizon that moves away as we walk, but which keeps us walking. Helder Camera said that when one dreams it’s only a dream, but when we dream together, it’s the beginning of reality.

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