STOCKHOLM — As the growing “Occupy Wall Street” protests prepare to enter their second month after spreading across the United States, “solidarity” demonstrations were held over the weekend in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries around the world. South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa all had protests of varying sizes. Most of the demonstrations were supposedly targeting bankers, greed, capitalism, bailouts, governments, central banking, and a wide range of other perceived ills.
Some European capitals saw tens of thousands of people peacefully gather to express their anger over the assorted themes. Demonstrations in Spain, which have been ongoing for over five months, were reportedly among the largest.
While most of the protests were peaceful, some turned ugly. Rome, one of the worst-hit cities, saw hundreds of masked marauders causing chaos and destruction estimated in the millions of dollars. Dozens of police officers were also injured in clashes and street fights.
According to news reports, shop windows and statues were smashed, churches were covered in graffiti, police cars and the Interior Ministry were set ablaze, and terror reigned supreme. Violent battles between law enforcement and hordes of “Black Bloc” thugs — often using pipes, homemade explosives, knives, and other weapons — lasted for hours.
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Photo: In this picture taken Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, protesters clash with police in downtown Rome: AP Images