The Occupy Wall Street movement inspires protests in the UK and dozens of other countries, as campaigners rage against bankers and politicians accused of condemning millions to hardship.
Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled round the world to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York.
The movement spread as G20 finance ministers and bank chiefs met in Paris to again discuss the Eurozone crisis.
Most rallies were however small and barely held up traffic. The largest and most violent protest was in Rome, pictured above, where organisers said they believed 100,000 took part.
In London, some six hundred protesters marched from St Paul’s Cathedral towards a square in front of the London Stock Exchange, where they hope to camp out in protest.
Police, included officers on horseback, faced down lines of demonstrators as they attempted to enter Paternoster Square, a privately owned area in front of the London Stock Exchange.
Activists carried banners with slogans such as “We are the 99 per cent” and “Bankers got a bailout, we got sold out”
Organisers had earlier said they expected a crowd of some 3000 protesters to attend the event.
The protesters, who had organised the event online, were bidding to replicate the huge demonstrations which have been taking place in New York’s Wall Street.
Activists carried banners with slogans such as “We are the 99 per cent” and “Bankers got a bailout, we got sold out”.
In Frankfurt, Germany’s financial centre and home to the country’s stock exchange, several thousand people marched to the European Central Bank headquarters as part of the ‘occupy Germany’ protest organised by Attac and other pro-democracy groups.
Meanwhile in Paris, several hundred so-called ‘indignants’ gathered in solidarity with protests staged across the globe. The protests were expected to coincide with the G20 finance chiefs’ meeting there.
Throughout the day worldwide protests have sprung up in countries from New Zealand to Taiwan, in part a response to calls from the New York demonstrators for more people to join them.
Financial centres have been targeted as a symbol for alleged banking greed and government cuts.
“It is getting obvious that the gap between poor and rich is getting bigger and bigger. I think that you can feel it in our society,” said protester Silke Schreiner.
Europe set for biggest bailout in world history
A day of riot and recapitalisation in this eurozone crisis, writes economics editor Faisal Islam. That's the view from teh G20 finance meeting in Paris.
Protest against the banks, in a week I believe will end with the biggest bailout in world history, of the single currency, and also of the Eurozone's banks.
Read more: Europe set for biggest bailout in world history
Attac claims on their website to be an ‘international movement working towards social, environmental and democratic alternatives in the globalisation process. Participation has been mainly organised over the internet and has gained other supporters alongside Attac.
“The issue is global, so for the first time we have a truly global movement that will gather people from different countries focussing on one aim: to change the financial system and how it interacts with governments because we feel that we’re not fairly represented through the democratic system as it is now which seem to benefit a handful of banks as opposed to the 99 percent of the public,” said Spyro Van Leemwn, a supporter of the movement from Greece involved in the organisation of Saturday’s protest.
Since the recession the only thing the governments have done is to basically pay banks with taxpayers’ money. Spyro Van Leemwn, Attac
“The Arab Spring is definitely something that has encouraged this movement and it has been contributing to make this global. We see people around the world in different countries standing up for themselves, not expecting the governments to do that because the governments have been inadequate. Since the recession the only thing the governments have done is to basically pay banks with taxpayers’ money,” he added.
For more than a month demonstrators have occupied New York’s Zuccotti Park, near the city’s financial centre of Wall Street, often leading to clashes with police.
The worldwide protests were a response in part to calls by the New York demonstrators for more people to join them. Their example has prompted calls for similar occupations in dozens of US cities from Saturday.