Protesters are preparing to set up camp outside the London Stock Exchange, expanding Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that began in New York.
About 4,000 people have signaled their intent to attend a peaceful demonstration that will start at noon on Oct. 15, Kai Wargalla, one of the organizers of Occupy London Stock Exchange, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The group plans to mass in Paternoster Square, close to the London offices of both Bank of America Corp. in King Edward Street and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) on Fleet Street.
Occupy Wall Street rallies started last month in New York’s financial district, where people have been staying in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to protest inequality and advocate higher taxes for the wealthy. Citigroup Inc. (C) Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, 54, said he would be happy to talk with participants, saying their sentiments are “completely understandable.”
“We are protesting against social and financial injustices,” said Wargalla, a student, who declined to give further information about her background. “If you look at the financial sector and the political and regulatory system they don’t work for us, the common man.”
Tom Gilbert, a spokesman for London-based LSE, said the exchange was aware of the protest and had no further comment.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited with protesters yesterday and informed them that Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, plans to clean it tomorrow.
“The mayor is a strong believer in the First Amendment and believes that the protesters have a right to continue to protest,” Cas Holloway, deputy mayor for operations, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “At the same time, the last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park. This situation is not in the best interests of the protesters, residents or the city.”
Protesters may return to areas that have been cleaned “provided they abide by the rules that Brookfield has established for the park,” Holloway said.
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