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Anti-Capitalism Blockupy Blockades Bank s In Frankfurt , Revolution Feared

By Countercurrents.org

01 June, 2013


Protesters from the anti-capitalist "Blockupy" movement blockaded the European Central Bank and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt on May 31, 2013. And, the German finance minister feared: Failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could bring "revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day."

The demonstrators are angry at the ECB's role in encouraging eurozone governments to impose austerity measures to cut debt.

Citing Blockupy speaker Ani a p ress statement of the federal Blockupy coalition issued in Frankfurt am Main on May 31, 2013 said [1]:

More than 3000 people surrounded and bolt the ECB at the Willy-Brandt-Platz early on Friday morning. M ore activists arriv ed at the blockade. The blockade successfully disrupted business of the ECB.

Ani added: With resolute actions we made it clear that we say “ No ” to the dominant politics of hunger and exploitation of humans and natural resources, in brief: to capitalism and its everyday consequences such as low income jobs, social exclusion, the pressing lack of affordable housing and racist deportations. 

Blockupy speaker Roland added: The move from public protest to civil disobedience is necessary. With the blockade of the ECB we are making the E uro pean resistance against the deva stating poverty policy visible. It's an
expression of our solidarity with the people in southern Europe whose existence is
threatened by the austerity programs.”

“ The ECB represents not only the European crisis management that serves the interest of major banks; it is also part of the Troika and thus a central actor in the politics of impoverishment that threatens the existence of the people in Europe , especially in southern European countries. Austerity kills ” , added Roland.  

After the blockade of the ECB, the participants of the protests beat the drums in front of the Deutsche Bank, addressed the inhumane working conditions in the textile industry and demanded the right to the city in front of real estate companies. With a so called “ care mob ” and a dancing blockade activists also drew attention to the effects of the crisis politics on care work that hit especially women.  

At the airport 800 people protest ed against deportation and racism. T he police den ied access for the demonstrators to Terminal 1 – which is against the decision taken by the administrative court yesterday which gave explicit permission to the rally in the airport, alt h ough the number of participants was restricted to 200. Blockupy speaker Thomas said : “ Police and public order office use all possible chicanery in order to suspend the freedom of assembly and to effectively undermine the decision by the administrative court. ”  

Simultaneously, protests in more than 10 European cities went on under the slogan: “United against the Troika”.

A Frankfurt datelined Reuters report [2] added:

The Blockupy movement participants paralyzed Germany 's financial centre cutting off access to the ECB and Deutsche Bank's headquarters.

Riot police, showered with stones and paint bombs, used pepper spray to prevent the protesters breaking into the ECB. Several protesters were injured and police made some arrests, though they gave no numbers.

"The aim of this blockade is to prevent normal operations at the ECB," said Blockupy spokesman Martin Sommer, adding that some people who had tried to come to work had been sent home by the protesters.

Demonstrators brandished signs with slogans such as "Humanity before profit" and some held up inflatable mattresses with the slogan "War Starts Here" written on them.

Trucks with water cannons stood by and a helicopter hovered overheard.

Europe 's Blockupy movement was formed after the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.

One of the protesters, Lena Turowski, a 25-year-old student of international development, condemned European governments' embrace of austerity measures to repair their economies.

"At the moment, they are trying to fight the crisis with the same measures that caused the crisis. And the people are being forgotten about," she told Reuters.

The protests, a prelude to Europe-wide rallies planned for June 1, coincided with fresh data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat showing that euro zone unemployment reached a new high of 12.2 percent in April.

As the day progressed, hundreds of the protesters spread out to Frankfurt 's airport and to the city's main shopping strip, where they stormed into fashion stores and blocked entrances, keeping shoppers out.

Police used batons to keep the protesters out of the main air terminal and only allowed people with flight tickets inside.

"We have skeleton staffing here again and we are dressed in jeans and t-shirts so no one will take notice of us," said one trader at Frankfurt 's stock exchange.

Friday's protests went ahead after a court granted last-minute permission, brushing aside complaints from Fraport and from the city of Frankfurt , though its ruling limited the number of protesters to just 200.

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Demonstrators in Frankfurt , Photo: EPA

Citing a police spokesperson a Voice of Russia report [3] said:

On Saturday, which marks the ECB's 15th birthday, a much bigger demonstration is planned in the city centre with organizers expecting as many as 20,000 participants.

Blockupy' has become a top-ten Twitter trend in Frankfurt .

Many of Frankfurt 's banks have urged staff to take Friday as a holiday, following a state holiday on Thursday.

Citing EU statistics office Eurostat a Brussels/Paris datelined a Reuters report [4] said:

Unemployment has reached a new high – 12.2 percent in April – in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank's target, stepping up pressure on EU leaders and the ECB for action to revive the bloc's sickly economy.

The joblessness in the 17-nation currency area marks a new record since the data series began in 1995.

With the euro zone in its longest recession since its creation in 1999, consumer price inflation was far below the ECB's target of just below 2 percent, coming in at 1.4 percent in May, slightly above April's 1.2 percent rate.

The deepening unemployment crisis is a threat to the social fabric of the euro zone. Almost two-thirds of young Greeks are unable to find work, exemplifying southern Europe 's 'lost generation'.

In France , Europe's second largest economy, the number of jobless rose to a record in April, while in Italy , the unemployment rate hit its highest level in at least 36 years, with 40 percent of young people out of work.

The Reuters report cited 42-year old Djamel Sami, who has been unemployed for a year, in Paris :

"I've sent CVs everywhere, I come to the unemployment agency every day, for 3 or 4 hours to look for work as a truck driver and there's never anything."

The report cited Nick Matthews, a senior economist at Nomura International in London :

"We do not expect a strong recovery in the euro zone."

With the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecasting this week that the euro zone economy would contract by 0.6 percent this year, unemployment is set to worsen long before it turns around.

In April, 5.6 million people under 25 were unemployed in the European Union, with 3.6 million of those in the euro zone.

Revolution feared

An earlier report [5] from Paris b y Ingrid Melander and Nicholas Vinocur said:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, and dropping the continent's welfare model in favor of tougher U.S. standards would spark a revolution.

Germany , along with France , Spain and Italy , backed urgent action to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not find jobs.

"We need to be more successful in our fight against youth unemployment, otherwise we will lose the battle for Europe's unity," Germany 's Schaeuble said.

Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe 's welfare model.

If US welfare standards were introduced in Europe, "we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day," Schaeuble told a conference in Paris .

In recent weeks Germany , wary of a backlash as many in crisis-hit European countries blame it for austerity, has taken steps to tackle unemployment in the bloc, striking bilateral deals with Spain and Portugal .

"We have to rescue an entire generation of young people who are scared. We have the best-educated generation and we are putting them on hold. This is not acceptable," Italian Labor Minister Enrico Giovannini said.

"Let's be honest. There is no quick fix. There is no grand plan," said Werner Hoyer, head the European Investment Bank.


[1] May 31, 2013, http://blockupy- frankfurt.org/en/

[2] May 31, 2013, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/germany-blockupy-idUKL5N0EC1NE20130531?feedType=RSS&feedName=rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews

[3] The Voice of Russia , May 31, 2013, http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_05_31/More-than-1-000-people-demonstrate-in-front-of-ECB-Deutsche-Bank-in-Frankfurt-6055/

[4] May 31, 2013, “Record unemployment, low inflation underline Europe 's pain”, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/uk-eurozone-economy-idUKBRE94U0DD20130531

[5] Reuters, May 28, 2013, “ Germany fears revolution if Europe scraps welfare model”,







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