Thousands March Against Austerity in Frankfurt

Sunday, 20 May 2012 09:14 By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times News Service | Report
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Austerity protest in FrankfurtAn earlier Blockupy Frankfurt protest, Römerberg, Germany, May 16, 2012. (Photo: Eoghan OLionnain) Berlin - Thousands of people on Saturday marched through the heart of Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital and the home of the European Central Bank, to protest against unchecked capitalism and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence on austerity measures for much of Europe.

The peaceful event, called Blockupy, in a nod to the Occupy movement, was the culmination of four days of demonstrations and drew about 20,000 protesters to Frankfurt, the police and organizers said.

The protest, which drew supporters from across Europe, was meant to send a “clear and visible signal of international solidarity against the authoritarian crisis management and the poverty inducing policies of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” organizers said.

Germany has pushed for deep spending cuts across Europe to control the debt crisis.

Ms. Merkel faces mounting criticism for championing what critics regard as a rigid agenda of fiscal discipline that has made unfair demands on countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Speaking from the Group of 8 meeting in the United States on Saturday, Ms. Merkel sought to play down criticism that she was solely focused on austerity, or consolidation, saying Germany would be open to increasing loans and credits to struggling nations through the European Investment Bank.

“The important message is this: Consolidation and growth are the two sides of the same medallion,” Ms. Merkel said, according to the German broadcaster ARD.

This article, "Thousands March Against Austerity in Frankfurt," originally appears at the New York Times News Service.

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Melissa Eddy

Melissa Eddy is a reporter for the New York Times News Service.

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