Caroline Westbrook – 15th October, 2011
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has appeared at Occupy London Stock Exchange, the latest in a series of worldwide protests against corporate greed.
Assange – who travelled to London from his friend Vaughn Smith’s house in Suffolk – addressed the crowd at the rally, which follows on from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and other similar gatherings across the US.
He is currently living in Suffolk on bail as he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over claims of rape and sexual molestation made against him by two women.
Under the terms of his current curfew, he must return home by 10pm on Saturday.
Several hundred protesters attended the gathering in the City of London, gathering at St Paul’s Cathedral – but failed in a bid to reach the Stock Exchange in neighbouring Paternoster Square after it was cordoned off by police.
Authorities said that a High Court injunction had been taken out to prevent the public from accessing the area, while signs were put up saying the square was private property and access would be restricted.
‘We are doing this to challenge the bankers and the financial institutions which recklessly gambled our economy,’ said a spokesman for the protesters.
‘This occupation and 20 other occupations all around the UK have been directly inspired by what’s happening all across America and especially Wall Street.’
Another protester, Canadian charity worker Lorena Fuentes, added, ‘I’m here today because I can’t see why you wouldn’t be and I feel that this is one of the few moments in history where it’s not a protest, it’s an actual movement that’s taken root.
‘We’re trying to challenge this myth that there are not enough resources to go around.’
The activists had planned to hold an assembly outside the Stock Exchange to decide the nature of their occupation in the capital’s financial district.
However, after they failed to reach the square they returned to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Police confirmed that one person had been arrested.