Beyond Wall Street: 'Occupy' goes global

The protests that started out in New York against corporate greed and social injustice has quickly spread throughout the United States and overseas too

Wall Street is more than 10,000 miles away from Melbourne, but 24-year-old Australian Alex Gard felt a kinship to the outrage expressed on the streets of Manhattan.

It's great that people are finally standing up against the privileged few people who want to rule together," Gard said. "I wanted to stand together and say, 'Enough is enough'."

Enough is enough: A woman holds a sign at Freedom Plaza in
Washington during an Occupy DC protest, one of the anti-corporate
demonstrations taking place across the US. Other countries like Spain,
Italy, Republic of China have also started Occupy protests. Pic/afp

Gard is one of the organisers of Occupy Melbourne, a group that started on Facebook that now has more than 2,000 members with plans to protest on October 15 in City Square. Similar calls have sprung up around Australia: Occupy Brisbane, Occupy Perth, and Occupy Sydney.

Inspiration strikes
"We are inspired by what's happening on Wall Street and loosely liaising with each other, but it's not organised in any central way," said Gard.

Gard and the planned Australian spin-offs of Occupy Wall Street are not alone. There are Facebook calls for a global demonstration on October 15 in cities in more than 25 countries stretching from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires, Dublin to Madrid.

Some protest pages show only a few dozen will attend; others have thousands. Protest pages in Spain and Italy  two countries hard hit by the financial crisis and subsequent European Union debt woes -- have the largest Facebook attendees so far, with 42,410 and 20,568, respectively.

Enough is enough
Occupy Wall Street began on September 17 and is now spreading to cities across the US. The demonstrations, inspired by the Arab Spring protest movement, are against economic inequality and power vested in the top one per cent income earners. Its rallying cry, "We are the 99 per cent," is now being picked up by groups around the globe. Occupy the London Stock Exchange -- referring to Europe's largest bourse and the world's fourth largest exchange outside of New York and Tokyo -- has more than 6,000 followers.

"Bankers have got off scot-free whilst the people of this country are being punished for a crisis they did not create," said the group's Facebook invite page. "What we have in common is that we are the other 99 per cent, that we want people over profit, that we are making our voices heard against greed and corruption and for a democratic and just society," said London organiser James Alexander Fancourt.

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