Occupy Wall Street spread around the world Saturday as protesters rallied in solidarity with a movement that began in downtown New York.
While the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, in Rome, riot police used tear gas and sprayed water after a small group of militants attacked property, including cars, government buildings and ATMs, BBC News reports. Tens of thousands of people turned out to rally in Rome, in what was one of the biggest protests of the day.
Protests were smaller elsewhere in Europe, with a few hundred people gathering in Frankfurt and Dublin. About 1,000 people demonstrated in London's financial district under the banner "Occupy the Stock Exchange."
Madrid, where "Indignant" protests over the global crisis began in mid-May, will see its main demonstrations begin Saturday evening and continue through the night.
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Protests are also being held in New York and other cities in the United States and Canada. In Toronto, a few thousand people rallied in the city's downtown financial district for "Occupy Bay Street," Canada's equivalent of Wall Street, the Toronto Star reports.
Cities in New Zealand and Australia kicked off the day's demonstrations, with a crowd of 3,000 joining a rally in Auckland's city square to express their anger at the bankers and politicians they accuse of destroying global economies through greed.
Reuters reported that about 200 people gathered in the New Zealand capital Wellington, and 50 in a park in the earthquake-hit southern city of Christchurch.
Melbourne and Sydney shortly followed, with thousands of people — including representatives of Aboriginal groups — turning out the city squares, answering a rally cry delivered across social media websites.
Nick Carson, a spokesman for OccupyMelbourne.Org told Reuters: "I think people want real democracy. They don't want corporate influence over their politicians. They want their politicians to be accountable."
The day of rage rippled back across the globe westwards, with marches taking place in in Tokyo, Seoul, Taiwan and Manila, before heading to Europe, through Athens, Frankfurt, and London, and then the South African cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
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Despite various domestic grievances, the protesters are united in denouncing corporate greed and corruption, and expressing frustration that governments are not listening to the people.
The website United for #GlobalChange said:
"On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares ... to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen. It's time for us to unite; it's time for them to listen."
Reuters reported that in Asia, where protests were expected to be comparatively smaller, over 100 people gathered at the Taipei 101 skyscraper, home to the stock exchange.
Dozens of civic groups demonstrated in the South Korean capital Seoul, while in Hong Kong, protesters gathered at Exchange Square Podium in the city’s central shopping and business district. Protests were also held in the Philippines.
Meanwhile three rallies took place in Japan: at the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and in Roppongi, near the local headquarters of investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Protests in South Africa were small, with about 100 people demonstrating outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and other groups gathering in Cape Town, Durban and Grahamstown, a university town in the Eastern Cape.
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