Yesterday in Frankfurt violence broke out hours before the ECB building’s official opening was due to take place, reportedly costing €1.5B. Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB).
Organisers were bringing a left-wing alliance of protesters calling themselves “Blockupy” to voice their resentment at the ECB’s role in austerity measures throughout Europe, most recently Greece.
A spokesman for the Blockupy movement said the Troika was responsible for austerity measures which have pushed many into poverty. Rosina Sfyridou, a German of Greek descent who lives in Frankfurt and was among a small group carrying a Syriza flag, said she wanted to fight for democracy and social justice, throughout Europe. ‘The Troika is making life difficult; schools are closing and Greeks are unable to receive proper health care’.
More than 200 demonstrators were injured by police bats and tear gas and the police reported 94 officers were injured. According to Frauke Loew, a Blockupy spokeswoman “the violent acts of some activists were neither planned nor wanted.’
Mario Draghi made a speech inaugurating the headquarters and acknowledged that the EU was under pressure; ‘People are going through very difficult times and as a key EU institution throughout the crisis, the ECB has become a focal point for many to air their frustrations, however our actions have been aimed at mitigating the loss suffered by the economy rather than to cause harm”.