Protesters plan to 'Occupy' London, Rome, Auckland
By MSNBC Staff and News Service Reports
LONDON — For an October revolution, dress warm.
That's the word going out on the Web to rally street protests on Saturday around the globe from New Zealand to London, Frankfurt and, of course, New York.
Protesters got started early in Italy, where students managed to break into the hall of the Goldman Sachs building in the heart of Milan's financial district, a few steps away from La Scala opera house, police said. The protesters were quickly dispersed.
On Saturday, organizers hope to expand — nonviolently — to 951 cities in Europe, the United
How many will show up, let alone stay to camp out in city centers as protesters have in New York's Occupy Wall Street protests, is anyone's guess. Rome police are gearing up for tens of thousands, but that protest bears a more traditional stamp, aimed at the austerity measures of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government.How does a group like Occupy Wall Street get anything done?
Blogs and Facebook pages devoted to "October 15" — #O15 on Twitter — abound with exhortations to keep the peace, bring an open mind, a sleeping bag, food and warm clothing; in Britain, "Occupy London Stock Exchange" is at pains to stress it does not plan to actually, well, occupy the stock exchange.
That may turn off those with a taste for the kind of anarchic violence seen in London in August, at anti-capitalism protests of the past decade and at some rallies against spending cuts in Europe this year. But, as Karlin Younger of consultancy Control Risks said: "When there's a protest by an organization that's very grassroots, you can't be sure who will show up."
Concrete demands are few, other than a general sense that the the rich, and especially banks, should shoulder more of the tax burden, and that elected governments are not listening.Story: Showdown looms at New York 'occupy' protests
"It's time for us to unite; it's time for them to listen; people of the world, rise up!" proclaimed the Web site United for #GlobalChange. "We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us ... We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen."
"We have people from all walks of life joining us every day," said Spyro, one of those behind a Facebook page in London that has grown to have some 12,000 followers in a few weeks. Some 5,000 have posted that they will turn out.
Spyro, a 28-year-old graduate who said he has a well-paid job, told Reuters that he did not want his family name published. But he said the main target of the global protests was "the financial system."
For all such utopianism, the possibility that peaceful mass action, organized with the help of social media, can bring real change has been reinforced by the success of Arab uprisings this year.
"I've been waiting for this protest for a long time, since 2008," said Daniel Schreiber, 28, an editor in Berlin. "I was always wondering why people aren't outraged and why nothing has happened and finally, three years later, it's happening."
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