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June 01, 2013

Protesters Clash for Second Day in Frankfurt

by VOA News

Anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police Saturday in Frankfurt, Germany's main financial hub and the home to the European Central Bank.

Riot police in Frankfurt used pepper spray and arrested some protesters who hurled stones and smoke bombs.

The protest started peacefully Friday, but there were some scuffles as thousands marched to protest the European Union's austerity measures. Participants carried banners and shouted slogans condemning what they see as capitalist greed at the expense of working people.
 
"We are demonstrating against the uncontrolled and undemocratic power of the financial markets which is destroying mankind," said protester Leo Meier.

Organizers of the movement called "Blockupy" called the protest to block access to Europe's central bank, one of the key proponents of the austerity measures aimed at slashing government debt throughout the 27-nation bloc.

"I have a dead man up here to symbolize that austerity kills, especially in the health care system in Greece. We are also expecting consequences in Spain,'' said a German demonstrator named Kai.

European Union leaders are struggling to revive Europe's sluggish economy and reduce unemployment rates, which are especially high for young people.

Some analysts doubt that a potential rate cut next week will be enough to help the situation. Alpesh Patel from Praefinium Partners, a British financial firm is one.

"It's not going to make much difference whether they do or not in terms of either the likelihood of increasing jobs, creating jobs, boosting growth, or changing market sentiment. Because it's like a type of marginal benefit given how low rates are in any event. So that's not actually going to be the answer," said Patel.

Germany has supported austerity measures required by EU and international financial institutions in order to provide bailouts to financially troubled southern European countries.