[QODLink]
Europe

'Blockupy' protesters block Frankfurt's ECB

Offshoot group of Occupy Movement cuts off access to European Central Bank to protest against handling of debt crisis.

Last Modified: 31 May 2013 15:21
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Thousands of demonstrators from the anti-capitalist Blockupy movement have cut off access to the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt to protest against policymakers' handling of Europe's debt crisis.

Clasping signs with slogans such as "humanity before profit", the protesters gathered in the rain to block roads including those leading to Deutsche Bank's headquarters in the city's financial district on Friday.

The crowd, estimated by police at roughly 2,500 protesters, was met by armed police wearing helmets and riot gear and accompanied by Alsatian dogs.

Trucks with water cannons stood by and a helicopter hovered overhead.

At least 20 protesters held up inflatable mattresses with the slogan "War Starts Here" written on them.

Police said some protesters had thrown stones and there were some clashes at the barricades, but the protest was generally peaceful.

Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer, reporting from Frankfurt, said that there is an overall feeling that there is such a heavy police presence that it is in fact the police that are occupying the bank.

"Later they will be going on to the Deutsche Bank, to protest what they see as land grabs in Asia, as well as [speculation] in food prices," said Spicer.

"They will also be going to one of Frankfurt's most important airports, to demonstrate their displeasure about the forced repatriation of refugees and racism as they see it." 

Europe's Blockupy movement was formed after the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.

'Prevent normal operations'

"The aim of this blockade is to prevent normal operations [at the ECB]," said Blockupy spokesman Martin Sommer, adding that some people who had tried to come to work had been sent home by the protesters.

Governments struggling with large debt burdens have cut spending and raised taxes, contributing to widespread recession across the euro zone, while many families are deep in debt or have lost their homes after property bubbles burst.

The German economy has been relatively resilient to the crisis.

Many of Frankfurt's banks have urged staff to take Friday as holiday after a state holiday on Thursday.

The ECB said it had taken measures to remain operational and ensure the safety of its staff.

The demonstration, held roughly a year after police detained hundreds of people for defying a temporary ban on protests at a similar four-day event in Frankfurt, preceded Europe-wide gatherings planned for June 1.

378

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
New report highlights plight of domestic helpers in the United Kingdom, with critics comparing it to kefala system.
join our mailing list