Police in Frankfurt, Germany had barricaded with barbed wire the European Central Bank headquarters in preparation for demonstrations against “government austerity and capitalism.” Those demonstrations have come and gone, leaving a mess behind.
The so-called “Blockupy” alliance said activists were planning a blockade of the new headquarters of the ECB before a ceremony Wednesday to inaugurate the building, and to disrupt so-called “capitalist business as usual.”
Some 10,000 people showed up for the rally in Frankfurt’s main square, the Roemerberg, a popular business center in the city. Organizers chartered a special train to bring demonstrators from Berlin to Frankfurt, while others were bussed in from all over Europe.
Frankfurt police expected most demonstrators to be peaceful, but violence-prone elements could use the crowds as cover, they claimed.
The ECB, along with the European Commission and International Monetary Fund, has been dubbed a part of the “troika” monitoring compliance with the conditions of bailout loans for financially troubled countries such as Greece. These conditions entail spending restraint and reducing deficits, and are aimed at reducing debt but have also been blamed for unemployment and slow growth.
Greece’s recently elected left-wing government claims such policies as exercised by the ECB have started a “humanitarian crisis” of poverty for pensioners and others.
ECB President Mario Draghi wants more spending by governments in good financial shape such as Germany.