Last weekend protests about corporate greed were held in around 951 cities across the globe. The Occupy Wall Street
protest movement had inspired others to take part and in London, Occupy London got underway.Saturday October 15, 2011 was the day of action and inevitably trouble occurred in some cities and countries. In London protesters were denied access to banking areas, where they had hoped to demonstrate. Instead they were pushed back to the front of London's landmark St Paul's Cathedral.
A heavy police presence looked set to inflame the situation. The police officers were trying to prevent damage to St Paul's historic architecture. In the end a philanthropic St Paul's clergyman asked the police to desist.
Ha said that he hoped for a peaceful protest, commenting that in the UK people have a right to air their opinions and demonstrate peacefully. As he said, he would rather a little damage than a running battle between protesters and police.
Now it seems his kindness may have backfired on him.
Throughout the week the sea of tents outised St Paul's has grown. The maekeshift camp will no doubt swell at the weekend when people are not at work. This will add to the problems. The Dean of St Paul's, Reverend Graeme Knowles, has said it is with a "heavy heart" that a decision to close has been made.
Famously little has forced St Paul's to close its doors to visitors but Occupy London has.
It all boils down to Health and Safety rules. The Dean has asked that protesters move away from the entrance to the cathedral. He said, "We have a legal obligation to keep visitors safe and healthy." This afternoon, October 21, 2011, a service will be held before St Pauls's basically shuts up shop, at least for the forseeable future. That is a shame as the Cathedral relies on donations from visitors to keep its finacial head above water.
For the last month a growing movement of people, from various age groups and walks of life, has been gathering momentum. Occupy Wall Street began in New York and elsewhere similar movements have been emerging.
Today, October 15, 2011, has been labelled a day of action and the number of protesters grew.
Action of one type or another has been experienced in around 951 cities across the globe.
Cities affected include Tokyo, in Japan, and Madrid in Spain. Even the financial district of Hong Kong and the business centre of Brussels have experienced rallies. For the most part today’s demonstrations have been good natured and small but it is still early in the day.
Police in Rome struggled to control a wayward element of protesters and the situation is escalating still. Tear gas, water cannons and an increase policed presence carrying out baton charges resulted in some arrests.
In London Wikileaks founder Julian Assange attended one rally and addressed the crowd. He travelled to London from his friend Vaughan Smith's country mansion in Suffolk. This is Assange’s home whilst he remains on bail fighting extradition to Sweden. In line with his bail conditions Julian intends to be back home in Suffolk before his 10pm deadline. If the police begin kettling protesters, that may not be so easy.
Occupy Together has been informing groups online and listing events. This along with Facebook and Twitter will have helped protesters stay in touch. Was Blackberry’s outage this week part of a bigger plan, I wonder?
There are however many such Occupy sites on-line adding their twopenneth. It is still relatively early in the day and Occupy the World is not over yet.
In Paris, France, leading finance ministers of the leading economies have met to discuss the depressing state of Europe’s economy.
The number of people involved in the World–wide protests is said to have been small but they may not be dismissed easily nor have been protesting in a once in a lifetime event.
In the US a small group of people decided to loosely form a protest group. Called the Occupy Wall Street protest movement over the last couple of weeks the movement has grown.
Protests have occurred in other areas of the US apart from Manhattan where it all began. Support has grown but not universally so. There remain many people sceptical about the movement, its aims and its protesters.
The movement claims to be protesting in general about corporate greed but is there more to it than that?.
The movement has its own website which includes the following information, “a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”The original aim of the group seems to have changed somewhat now including protests against unemployment, health care, tuition fees and alleged police brutality.
Their support has grown and this week the protesters have been joined by students, Union officials and members, and even those in the legal profession. Some people doubt the motives of some of these people joining the movement claiming that they have done so for their own ends.Unsurprisingly some Republicans have attacked the movement's
aims. One said, “They’re basically saying that somehow the government is supposed to take from those that have succeeded and give to those who want to protest. That’s not the way America was built.”To this Brit that is a strange way at looking at the protests. President Obama when asked said,
“I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel". It seems that even an opinion on such a minor movement will inflame party political beliefs.Some celebrities and successful American citizens have shown support for the movement.
These include Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, George Soros and Tim Robbins.In general it seems that those with political leanings toward the political left, Democrats in the US and those with leanings to the right, Republicans
, are on opposite sides on this issue. No guesses for who supports or who does not.A more global protest is planned for two weeks time, on October 15, 2011. Plans include a protest in Toronto, Canada.More info at the Occupy Wall Street protest movement website here