You Can’t Eat Money

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Crowds of demonstrators gathered in the streets of several Canadian cities on Saturday to kick off a series of Occupy the Globe protests denouncing corporate greed and financial mismanagement, mirroring similar rallies that have rapidly spread from the U.S. to dozens of countries around the world.
The global day of marches and sit-ins are inspired by the grassroots Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City, which began weeks ago and continues with protesters occupying Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for nearly a month now.
Canadian protests are being organized in at least 15 Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and St. John’s. While locations for where the rallies start and end vary according to city, they generally include marching to financial districts, city halls or other important economic venues.
In Montreal, the scene remained peaceful at Victoria Square, with a few hundred people are simply hanging out and chatting amongst themselves. Some are carrying signs denouncing capitalism. Mothers with children walked among the crowd, and at one point, one woman was handing out donuts. Montreal police were on the scene to monitor the situation.
One student, holding a sign “You can’t eat money,” told CBC News “we place so much importance on money in our society…the system is so screwed up [and in the end] money means nothing.”
In Toronto, police estimated a crowd of about 3,000 marched east from their meeting place in the city’s financial district to St. James Park at King and Church Streets, next to the city’s historic Anglican church. Many brought sleeping bags and tents, while some brought suitcases as well as pots and pans, suggesting they didn’t plan to just be protesting for just one day.
“We can make these banks accountable; we can make Canada a better place,” Toronto protester Merouan Mekowan told CBC News.
Liberal Leader Bob Rae showed up at the park, saying it was his constituency and that as a politician, he wanted to face the crowd.
‘People come before profit’
“I’ve been in pubic life for 40 years, I’m used to being blamed,” Rae told CBC News, adding that many protesters felt that “the economy was lacking democracy.”
“The Canada that they love — a place where people take care of each other — that place is slipping through their fingers.”
Protester Kevin Konnyu said he showed up because “there’s too much power in too few hands.”
“I want to see a world where people and the planet come before profit,” added Konnyu, who also volunteered to be a facilitator for the protest in Toronto.
Organizers of the Canadian movement have urged participants to keep demonstrations civil.
In the U.S., hundreds have been arrested during clashes in various U.S. cities. Despite that, people in more than 950 cities in 82 countries are taking part in Saturday’s Occupy the Globe events.
Canadian police units, notably in Toronto and Vancouver where the G20 protests in June 2010 and hockey riots this past June, respectively, led to violence and arrests, have for days been planning their strategies for handling the Occupy protests.
Police officials have been mostly tight-lipped about how they’ll handle Saturday’s mass events. However, Toronto police spokeswoman Const. Wendy Drummond reiterated Friday to CBC News that “we do have planning in place to facilitate a peaceful protest and ensure everyone’s safety.”
Violence erupts in Rome
Meanwhile, police in Rome fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters who smashed shop windows and torched a car on Saturday as violence broke out during a demonstration in the Italian capital, part of worldwide protests against corporate greed and austerity measures.
Protesters outfitted in black, with their faces covered, threw rocks, bottles, eggs and other objects at police in riot gear. Some held clubs, others had hammers. They threw fire bombs and firecrackers at banks, destroyed bank ATMs and set trash bins on fire, news reports said. Two news crews from Sky Italia were assaulted.
Police estimate there are about 100,000 protesters on the streets of Rome, a day after Premier Silvio Berlusconi survived a confidence vote in Parliament. Italy is rapidly becoming a focus of concern in Europe’s debt crisis
At least 1,000 people demonstrated in London’s financial district but were prevented by police from reaching the Stock Exchange. Outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, hundreds of people protested on Saturday.
Protests have already been held in Australian and in cities across Asia. Similar protests are planned in every U.S. state.
About 2,000 supporters in Sydney, Australia, waved signs such as “You can’t eat money.” In Tokyo, 200 joined in protest, and Philippine supporters in Manila marched on the U.S. Embassy to express their support.
“Like the people of the Philippines, the American people and the peoples of the other parts of the world, are tremendously affected by the crisis of capitalism, and all over the world, people are rising up including women, to fight for our rights to fight for the future of our children, to fight for the future of the peoples of the world,” said Jom Salvador, a protest leader in Manila.
Activists demonstrated in the financial district of Zurich, Switzerland, where some held signs vowing that taxpayers would not bail out the banks again.
In Frankfurt, some 5,000 people took to the streets to protest in front of the European Central Bank.
Hundreds marched through the Bosnian city of Sarajevo carrying pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read “Death to capitalism, freedom to the people.”
With files from The Associated Press

Source: http://news.ca.msn.com/canada/occupy-the-globe-anti-greed-protests-underway-18

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