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ECB Tower, Frankfurt Airport Targeted by Blockupy Protest

ECB Tower, Frankfurt Airport Targeted by Blockupy Protesters
Riot police stand outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank during protests in Frankfurt. Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Protesters blocked the entrance to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, saying the ECB’s policy choices during the euro-area debt crisis shored up big banks while impoverishing citizens.

Organizers of the Blockupy movement said the number of demonstrators on site today already exceeded the 3,000 who took part in last year’s event, among them protesters from Italy, Spain, France and other European countries. Frankfurt police put the number at about 1,500 demonstrators.

Employees were prevented from entering the ECB building in the city center, Ani Diesselmann, a Blockupy spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. “We will stay here until the largest flow of staff is over,” she said. Some ECB staff did manage to slip through, she said. The ECB said it would continue operations as normal today.

The protests, which took place amid rain, were peaceful with the exception of a few demonstrators who tried to break through the crash barriers placed in front of the ECB tower, police spokesman Max Weiss said. As many as 300 people gathered outside the ECB while about 80 people demonstrated in front of the nearby Deutsche Bank AG headquarters, which were shielded by about 50 police vehicles. The protesters had left by midday.

Blockupy plans a demonstration at Frankfurt airport against German immigration policies at about 1 p.m. local time. Fraport, the airport operator, is advising passengers to arrive early for flights.

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