News / Europe

Frankfurt 'Blockupy' Protesters to Target ECB and Banks

FILE - Blockupy demonstration in Duesseldorf, Germany, Nov 14, 2012.
FILE - Blockupy demonstration in Duesseldorf, Germany, Nov 14, 2012.
Reuters
Thousands of demonstrators from the anti-capitalist Blockupy movement will seek to cut off access to the European Central Bank and other financial institutions in Frankfurt on Friday, to protest their handling of Europe's debt crisis.
 
The demonstrations in Germany's financial capital come ahead of Europe-wide gatherings planned for June 1 and roughly a year after police detained hundreds of people for defying a temporary ban on protests at a similar four-day event in Frankfurt.
 
The movement's organizers say they aim to “visibly disturb” the usual business of the ECB and institutions like Deutsche Bank, which they blame for the recession in the heavily indebted eurozone countries such as Spain and Greece.
 
“The ECB is part of the troika and is one of those institutions responsible for pushing austerity measures and making people in southern Europe suffer,” Blockupy spokesman Martin Sommer said.
 
The Blockupy movement in Europe came about after the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Protesters held a four-day demonstration in Frankfurt 12 months ago, coordinated from a camp set up outside the ECB's headquarters.
 
Sommer said he expects several thousand people to participate on Friday, and that the streets of Frankfurt's skyscraper-filled financial district could be occupied by as many as 20,000 for the wider action on Saturday.
 
Around 500 people have already moved into a camp on the western outskirts of Frankfurt, and that number is expected to rise to more than 1,200 during the day as busloads of protesters arrive from Berlin, Italy and Spain, Sommer said.
 
Seven busloads of people on their way into Frankfurt were stopped by police, Blockupy later said. One bus with people from a refugee camp in Berlin was sent back to the capital, it added.
 
Frankfurt police said they would cordon off the streets around the ECB, while the underground train station on the square where the building is located would be closed from Thursday and certain trams would be diverted.
 
Airport row
 
On Twitter, some watchers predicted the police would do a better job at 'blocking' the city than the protesters. Last year police shut off much of Frankfurt's city center ahead of the demonstration, which was largely peaceful.
 
Their task has been made easier by the fact that Thursday is a public holiday in the surrounding state of Hesse. Many of the city's banks have urged staff to take Friday as holiday, too. The ECB said it had taken measures to remain operational and ensure the safety of its staff.
 
In the afternoon, the demonstrators will divide up, with some blocking the entrance to Deutsche Bank's twin towers, to protest about food speculation and land grabbing. Activists have been asked to bring pots and pans to bang.
 
A second group will head to the city center to protest against rising rents, while around 200 will highlight racism and 'deportation' at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest hub.
 
A court on Thursday gave permission for the protest to go ahead despite complaints from the airport operator Fraport and the city of Frankfurt, which had wanted to keep the demonstrators outside the terminal building.
 
The court said, however, that should the number of protesters exceed 200, the gathering could be broken up.
 
Fraport reiterated its view that it did not understand why the court had decided to let the protesters into the terminal, especially given the movement's history of causing disruption.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More