Occupy Movement Spreads Worldwide

Posted October 15th, 2011 at 1:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Violence broke out in Rome Saturday during a series of anti-corporate demonstrations worldwide inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

A small number of the hundreds of protesters filling Roman streets broke away from the main group and ran amok, smashing windows and lighting fires. Police presence is heavy in the Italian city.

In London, scuffles broke out between police and protesters among the hundreds gathered near St. Paul's Cathedral.

Demonstrations also took place in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, and France, where members of the Group of 20 financial powers are meeting in Paris to discuss the European economic crisis.

In the United States, protests in Washington, D.C., New York City, and other financial centers continue. The Washington, D.C. emergency management agency reported midday that some 500 protesters were marching through the city.

In Manhattan, protesters are expected to converge on Times Square late in the day.

Many demonstrators are protesting inequality between the rich and poor, calling themselves “the 99 percent” in contrast to the “one percent” of people who they say account for most of the world's wealth.

Other causes the protesters espouse include abolishing capitalism, lowering college tuition, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Japan Saturday, small demonstrations centered on ending the use of nuclear power.

The Occupy Wall Street protest began on September 17 with a small group of activists accusing what they called “corporate America” of fostering a growing economic divide between the wealthy, and the poor and middle class. The movement has gathered momentum despite criticism that it lacks a central focus.