Huge anti-capitalism rally hits Frankfurt

More than 1,000 people took part in multiple anti-capitalist demonstrations in Frankfurt on Friday, targeting among others the European Central Bank and banking giant Deutsche Bank, organisers and police said.

Huge anti-capitalism rally hits Frankfurt
Photo: DPA

On the first of two days of protests organised by the anti-capitalist movement Blockupy, hundreds of people initially gathered in front of the ECB in the rain to protest the central bank’s handling of the euro crisis and Europe’s austerity policies.

They then moved to Deutsche Bank’s headquarters to protest against the involvement of Germany’s biggest lender in foodstuff speculation.

Following that, the protestors moved to Frankfurt’s main shopping mile and there were also plans to target the city’s airport later in the day to protest against Germany’s deportation policies.

But police there were said to be letting through only passengers with valid flight tickets, so it was not yet clear if or how many protestors would be able to get through.

Police declined to say how many officers have been deployed in the city centre, but an AFP reporter on the scene estimated that there several hundreds. Police put the number of participants at the eary-morning ECB demo at 1,200-1,500 while the organisers themselves claimed there were 3,000 protestors.

Barriers had been set up around the ECB’s Eurotower headquarters in Frankfurt’s city centre for days now to prevent demonstrators from getting too close.

A police spokesman said protestors had repeatedly tried to climb over the barriers, adding that pepper spray had been used to repel them.

An ECB spokeswoman told AFP that the bank had taken measures to ensure the security of its employees, in coordination with the police.

“The ECB will remain operational during demonstrations,” the central bank said in a statement.

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


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.