NEWS
15/10/2011 11:22 BST | Updated 15/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Occupy Wall Street: Demonstrations Held In Cities Around The World

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in cities around the globe.

Inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York, demonstrations have been held in Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rome, Toronto and London. The targets for many of the rallies are the institutions of the global financial system. Demonstrations are planned for more than 80 countries.

In London, thousand of protesters gathered near the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the city. The Telegraph reported that around 1,000 demonstrators were in attendance.

The BBC reported the figure to be between 4,000 and 6,000. All were there to voice their discontent at financial corruption, corporate greed and government cutbacks.

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Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell spoke at the London event, encouraging adoption of the Tobin Tax, as well as the implementation of a 20 per cent emergency tax on the richest tier in Britain.

"The richest 10 per cent of the UK population have a combined personal wealth of £4 million, million. A one-off 20 per cent tax on those people would raise £800 billion," he said.

"Those people can afford it, they'd feel no pain, and they’re so fabulously wealthy.

"With that sum of money you could pay off the entire government deficit. No need for any public spending cuts."

He also said the Tobin Tax could raise “at least £100 billion a year… allowing the government to clear the deficit”.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange also addressed the crowd, fighting his way through protesters and police before speaking on the steps of St Paul's.

"People are being ordered to Guantanamo Bay to obey the rule of law, and money is being laundered through the Caymen Islands and London to obey the rule of law," he said.

"This movement is not about the destruction of law, but the construction of law."

According to the BBC, more than 50,000 demonstrators gathered in Rome, galvanised by their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his government.

Italy has recently been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, while Berlusconi has been blighted by confidence votes and allegations of corruption. The protests, which gathered near the Colosseum, turned violent when demonstrators attacked property and a government ministry. Cars were set on fire and a police van was overturned.

Italian Police have reportedly used tear gas to quell the crowd.

Around 500 people gathered in Tokyo, while similar numbers were reported in Hong Kong. According to The Telegraph, around 600 protesters “set up camp outside Australia's central bank” in Sydney.

Madrid, Dublin and Frankfurt have also seen demonstrations.

Earlier in the UK, campaign organisations, including direct action group UK Uncut, said they would support an occupation of the heart of the capital's financial centre as part of a "global movement for real democracy" to highlight social and economic injustice.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange collective said a Facebook page on the protest had attracted more than 13,000 followers, with more than 5,000 confirmed attendees.

Laura Taylor, a supporter of the so-called OccupyLSX, said: "Why are we paying for a crisis the banks caused? More than a million people have lost their jobs and tens of thousands of homes have been repossessed, while small businesses are struggling to survive.

"Yet bankers continue to make billions in profit and pay themselves enormous bonuses, even after we bailed them out with £850 billion."

Another supporter, Kai Wargalla, said: "We want to make our voices heard against greed, corruption and for a democratic, just society. We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, protesters in Spain, Greece and the Middle East who started this movement. They have inspired people all over the world to step forward and make their voices heard."

UK Uncut supporter Peter Hodgson said: "The success of the square occupations across Spain in calling for democracy and an end to austerity, alongside the rapid growth of the Wall Street occupation, has shown that this is what is needed in London and the UK. The Government is ignoring its electorate as they impose these austerity measures."

OccupyLSX issued a statement which said: "The words corporate greed ring through the speeches and banners of protests across the globe.

"After huge bailouts and in the face of unemployment, privatisation and austerity, we still see profits for the rich on the increase. But we are the 99%, and on October 15 our voice unites across gender and race, across borders and continents, as we call for equality and justice for all.

"In London, we will occupy the Stock Exchange, reclaiming space in the face of the financial system and using it to voice ideas for how we can work towards a better future, a future free from austerity, growing inequality, unemployment, tax injustice and a political elite who ignores its citizens, and work towards concrete demands to be met."