October 16, 2011
ROME – Demonstrators rallied Saturday across the world to accuse bankers and politicians of wrecking economies, but only in Rome did the global “day of rage” erupt into violence.
Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled east to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York. Demonstrations touched most European capitals and other cities.
They coincided with the Group of 20 meeting in Paris, where finance ministers and central bankers from the major economies were holding crisis talks.
While most rallies were small and barely held up traffic, the Rome event drew tens of thousands of people and snaked through the city center for kilometers (miles).
October 16, 2011
What was initially planned as a peaceful “Occupy Rome” protest turned into a violent demonstration in the Italian capital. Police reportedly used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds of angry Italians. Protesters wearing masks and helmets threw rocks, bottles and other objects at police in riot gear. Some wielded clubs, while others were armed with hammers. The demonstration against the government’s economic policy, with a crowd estimated at 200,000, descended into violent chaos when groups of angry protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and attacked shops. Protesters also attacked the Defense Ministry and set a wing of the building on fire. At least one person was injured and taken to a hospital, the Al Jazeera television network reported. The protests in the Italian capital were modeled on the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration against capitalism and austerity measures, which went global Saturday with dozens of marches and protests worldwide. The website for the international movement said 951 cities in 87 countries were ready to “Unite for Global Change” — the official slogan of the rally. Sizable protests were held in Spain, the UK and New York.