Hundreds rally for anti-corporate protest in London

AFP , Saturday 15 Oct 2011

Thousands take on the street to occupy London's financial district to protest against corporate greed

Around 800 people rallied in London's financial heart Saturday amid a heavy police presence as part of world protests against corporate greed and budget cutbacks.

The demonstrators, some of them masked, were pushed back by police as they tried to march from Saint Paul's Cathedral to the London Stock Exchange, and minor scuffles broke out.

The marchers, bearing banners reading "Strike Back", "No Cuts" and "Goldman Sachs Is the Work of the Devil", were ringed by three police cordons while mounted officers and vehicles also stood by.

But the protest, to the sound of guitars and drums, was overwhelmingly peaceful and the cathedral remained open to visitors, though the nearby underground station was closed.

Organisers in a group calling itself OccupyLSX were hoping for thousands of participants after some 15,000 people expressed support on Facebook and Twitter.

Ben Walker, 33, a teacher from Norwich, eastern England, was carrying a rolled-up sleeping bag and said he planned to spend one or two nights in the area.

"I'm here today mainly as a sense of solidarity with the movements that are going on around the world," he told AFP. "We're hoping for a kind of justice in the global financial system."

Adam, a London-based student in his twenties from the United States, said he had already taken part in the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

"I see this as a global movement. The banking systems and economies of the world are all inter-related now," he said.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and Spain's "Indignants", people began taking to the streets across the world Saturday, targeting 951 cities in 82 countries.

It was the biggest show of strength yet by a movement born on 15 May when a rally in Madrid's central square of Puerta del Sol sparked a protest that spread internationally.

Dominated by anger over unemployment and opposition to the financial elite, the protests coincided with a Paris meeting of G20 financial powers preoccupied by the eurozone debt crisis.

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