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October 16, 2011

'Occupy Wall Street' Movement Gains Size, Support

by Peter Fedynsky

One month after the Occupy Wall Street protesters moved into New York City's Zuccotti Park, the movement has spread globally, and gained momentum at home.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, about 100 anti-corporate activists camped out across from the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.  A protest in Rome turned into a riot, leaving torched cars and broken bank windows in its wake.  Demonstrators in Tokyo focused on social disparities, unemployment and nuclear power.  A march on the American embassy in the Philippines denounced alleged U.S. imperialism and wars of aggression.  Similar protests have been held in scores of other cities as far afield as Ljubljana, Slovenia and Melbourne, Australia.

Occupy Wall Street media representative Mark Bray says resistance to multinational corporate influence needs a multinational movement.

“The problems that we’re facing in all these different countries vary by locality, vary by circumstance," said Mark Bray. "But the resistance to cuts on social spending, the push for real democracy that gets the voices of working people prioritized over the voices of corporations is something that we share in common.”

The Occupy movement has no apparent leaders or common message.  In Sydney, Australia, for example, about 300 demonstrators accused the world’s richest one percent of hoarding wealth.  In New York, performance artist Benny Zable, an Australian native, blamed that same one percent for environmental pollution.

“The one percent are the very wealthy, who have become wealthy by creaming off at any cost," said Zable. "There’s no morals behind it.  They’ll dig up, they’ll contaminate.”

On Sunday, President Barack Obama acknowledged the movement by invoking the name of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  Mr. Obama spoke in Washington at the dedication of the monument to slain American civil rights leader.  

"If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there," said President Obama.

In Switzerland, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said finance ministers from the Group of 20 leading economies should listen to the protesters and develop workable plans to address their concerns.  

Polish Solidarity Trade Union leader and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa has expressed support for the anti-Wall Street protesters.  And more that 100 authors, including several Pulitzer Prize winners, have signed an Internet petition to declare their support for the Occupy movement around the world.