Socialist Worker

Anti-capitalist protests shout round the world

Issue No. 2274

Well over a million people took to the streets in more than 950 cities across 80 countries last Saturday, as the Occupy movement exploded internationally.

Protesters were united by a sense that something is seriously wrong with the economic system we live in—and a desire to change it.

From Finland to Australia, from Japan to Canada, from Taiwan to South Africa, people protested.

The biggest rallies were in Rome, Lisbon and Madrid, where hundreds of thousands hit the streets.

Tens of thousands came out in New York, where the movement started, as well as Washington DC and other US cities.

In Athens the protest linked in with those against the cuts programme.

Thousands also marched in Mexico, Peru and Chile, condemning stagnant unemployment and the unfair financial system.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York last month, inspired Saturday’s international day of action.

Its slogan, which has been taken up worldwide, is “We are the 99 percent.”

Protesters feel that the vast majority are paying for the obscene wealth of a tiny minority—1 percent—and they have had enough.

In Berlin, 4,000 protesters gathered, chanting, “We are the 99 percent,” and “Abolish capitalism”. In Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital, there were 5,000.

In the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, hundreds walked through the streets carrying pictures of Che Guevara and banners saying, “Death to capitalism, freedom to the people.”

In heavy rain, protesters congregated in the financial district of Seoul, South Korea’s capital.

Demonstrators in Tokyo added anti-nuclear slogans to the anti-capitalist ones.

Hundreds protested in Hong Kong. Wong Weng-chi, a demonstrator, said one reason for protesting was that Hong Kong acted as “a base that serves many capitalists and the upper class”.

And in Spain, where the indignados (outraged) movement has inspired people across the globe, protests took place in tens of cities across the country.

The demands of the protests that took place on Saturday aren’t always clear.

But what is clear is that they have tapped into a deep well of frustration and anger—and have the potential to spur more resistance.

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