Demonstrators showed up in force in two of Germany's major cities to protest against the influence of the global financial markets over the political process. The protests came as the eurozone faces an uncertain future.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Berlin and Frankfurt on Saturday to protest against the power of banks and financial markets after a week of economic turmoil that saw Italy nearly brought to its knees as yields on its bonds soared to dangerous levels, raising concerns about the stability of Europe's economy.
More than 9,000 demonstrators gathered in Frankfurt, the financial capital of the 17-member eurozone, where they formed a human chain around the city's banking district, according to police. Protesters have camped out in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) for nearly a month now.
In Berlin, the organization Attac said 8,000 people took to the streets, marching from the main train station to the government district where they encircled the area around parliament, the Bundestag, close to the Brandenburg Gate. The protesters carried signs calling for "real democracy" and measures to "reign in the banks." Police said "thousands" showed up for the protests.
"This resonance shows that more and more people have had enough of the financial markets driving politics and the big banks blackmailing entire societies," said Attac spokesman Max Bank. "All citizens are demanding what the politicians have failed to do."
The demonstrations were supported by leftist groups and organizations critical of globalization such as Attac and Campact. Demonstrations against the power of the financial markets have become a regular occurrence in Germany ever since a global day of protest brought thousands into the streets on October 15.
The protests in Germany were partially inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, which continues to demonstrate against rising social inequality and a stagnant economy.
Author: Spencer Kimball (dpa, dapd, epd)
Editor: Chuck Penfold
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