Protesters temporarily blocked the entrance to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt before disrupting the city’s main shopping street and demonstrating at Frankfurt airport.
Organizers of the Blockupy movement said the number of demonstrators 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 today.
“We gave a clear signal against the Troika policy the ECB helps implementing,” Ani Diesselmann, a Blockupy spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. She said the ECB’s policy decisions during the euro-area debt crisis had shored up big banks while impoverishing citizens.
Protests in front of the ECB tower from about 6.30 a.m. until 10.30 a.m. local time were peaceful with the exception of a few demonstrators who tried to break through crash barriers placed at the site for security reasons, according to police spokesman Max Weiss. An ECB spokesman said operations were normal with some staff working from home.
Campaigners later marched past Deutsche Bank AG’s headquarters to Frankfurt’s Zeil shopping street, where they blocked shopfronts and conducted sit-ins. Police said several people were charged with breach of the peace.
Protesters also demonstrated at Frankfurt airport, where about 200 campaigners were allowed inside a terminal as others stayed outside. Fraport, the airport operator, is advising passengers to arrive early for flights.