Thousands protest outside ECB headquarters in Frankfurt

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Thousands of people demonstrated Saturday outside the European Central Bank's Frankfurt headquarters on the first day of a worldwide protest against income disparity and corporate greed.

Organisers estimated a turnout of nearly 6,000, while police said 5,000 were in the square dominated by a giant blue-and-yellow euro logo.

Youths, retired people and families with children in strollers joined the protest in bright autumn sunshine, with signs reading "Smash the Dictatorship of Capitalism" and "Don't Sell Out Democracy at the ECB".

"I see the global capitalist system as a time bomb for humans but also for the planet," said a 27-year-old protester who gave his name only as Tobias.

"Our (material) well-being is financed to the detriment of other countries, (and) the ECB represents this unjust and murderous system," said the schoolteacher, carrying a sign reading "Capitalism Will Kill Capitalism."

Another protester, pensioner Christl, said she came thinking of her children and grandchildren "who will have to pay for our debts".

"I think the banking system is awful overall," she said. "Investment banks should bear the cost of their losses on their own. It's time to rise up, otherwise nothing will ever happen."

Frauke Distelrath of the Attac anti-globalisation movement that organised the protest said she was pleased with the turnout.

"We chose to demonstrate outside the ECB, but we could have demonstrated outside Deutsche Bank, or outside the Frankfurt stock exchange," she said.

Inspired by America's Occupy Wall Street movement and Spain's "Indignants", people around the world took to the streets Saturday in a rolling action targeting 951 cities in 82 countries.

© 2011 AFP

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