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Protesters Camp In London, Frankfurt After Clashes

Demonstrators protest against austerity measures and corporate greed in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
Hundreds of protesters have camped out in London, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam, with some vowing to settle in as part of their campaign against austerity measures and corporate greed.

The camps in the financial districts of the three European cities rose up after October 15 saw rallies in more than 900 cities in 80 countries across the world.

In the British capital, several hundred anticapitalist demonstrators camped in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, near the London Stock Exchange.

The French AFP news agency reported that the camp had grown to about 70 tents late on October 16.

At meetings early in the day, activists agreed to set up facilities to smooth the way for a long-term occupation.

"Basically essentials to survive on the planet is water and food," one activist helping to set up cooking facilities told Reuters. "So what we're providing is cooking facilities as best as we can do -- water, food. We've got hot water so people can have cups of tea. Also we're getting people gathering [money] together for gas stoves, hopefully, to boil water up so we can wash our hands [and] have cleanliness because obviously we don’t want rats and stuff."

Banners contained messages such as "Keep Calm And Occupy London" and "Bail Out People, Not The Banks."

"We're basically trying to provide the public with the raw images and videos from our media," said Ollie Taylor, speaking in the new media operations tent of Occupy London Stock Exchange. "We're tying to reach out to the public and let them know exactly what's going on here. We do feel that we're represented in the mainstream media slightly, but we also feel that our views aren't being represented fairly in them."

'Very Motivated'

In the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, about 300 people were camped out in the square in front of the stock exchange on October 16.

One of the organizers, Seth Lievense, told AFP: "At the moment, there are people who are very motivated to stay for a long time in the square. Days, nights, weeks -- their desire for change is enormous."

And in Germany’s financial capital, Frankfurt, around 200 people were camped in front of the European Central Bank (ECB), which is seen as crucial to how the current eurozone debt crisis plays out.

"From tomorrow on, we will stand in front of the ECB, in loose formations, so that the bankers can go through us, but they have to confront us, they have to see our faces," protester Alexander Sack said. "They have to see that we are here to fight against the financial crimes they do. They have to see that there are people that think about what happens and want to change something."

Addressing the Inter-Parliamentary Union's 125th assembly in Geneva on October 16, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said governments "everywhere" were confronting huge deficits.

But he added that the biggest challenge was to overcome "a deficit of trust" that they will do the right thing to confront those deficits.

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out at the biggest rallies on October 15, in Lisbon, Madrid, and Rome.

Violence In Rome

Most protests passed off peacefully, but in Rome, hundreds of rioters caused what the mayor estimated was more than $1 million in damage.

Twelve people were detained and more than 130 reported injured, most of them police officers, in the violence, which drew angry reactions from Rome residents like Antonino Fiuggi.

"These people need to be educated with conviction and also with culture. This is what I think," Fiuggi said. "I am certain that these kind of things should not happen in a civilized country. These things should not be allowed."

In Greece, a 48-hour strike by seamen, starting today, has brought passenger ferries to a halt, disrupting traffic to the country's dozens of islands. The move comes ahead of a two-day nationwide strike starting on October 19, timed to coincide with a vote in parliament to pass new austerity measures.

About 175 people were detained in Chicago after they refused to leave a park where they were camped, and there were some 100 arrests in Arizona after protesters in Tucson and Phoenix refused police orders to disperse.

There were also clashes in New York, where more than 70 protesters were detained as the Occupy Wall Street movement showed its muscle with a big Times Square demonstration.

Bill Dobbs, a press liaison for the movement, said nearly $300,000 in cash has been donated to the movement, which started a month ago.

The activists said they also had amassed blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, and medical and hygienic supplies "for a long-term occupation."

compiled from agency reports