October 15 - The Occupy Wall Street protests spread in major cities across Asia Pacific, with demonstrators blaming social disparity on the global financial system. Sophia Soo reports.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is making in roads in Asia Pacific. In Sydney, around 2,000 people gathered outside the Reserve Bank of Australia protesting against income inequality. They planned to camp outside the Reserve Bank indefinitely. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SYDNEY PROTEST ORGANISER, JOSH LEES, SAYING: "Well, we're not just talking about a change of government. I think what everyone here is talking about is a change of the entire way our system works. The entire way money dominates all of our political lives. The big corporations, the 1 percent who we're talking about, the mining companies, the banks and so on. They basically dominate our entire political establishment too. Both major parties in Australia are effectively just servants of capital of the big money and everything like that." In Tokyo, hundreds of protesters took to the streets. They also directed their anger at electric power companies and the Japanese government, saying they failed to contain or prevent the Fukushima nuclear crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 40-YEAR-OLD TEACHER YOSHIKAZU KOGA SAYING; "I'm obviously against social disparity and poverty just like with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and I'm interested in the subject. But our more pressing issues are against nuclear power and TPP (Trans-Pacific partnership) and that's our main message." In the Taiwanese capital, more than a hundred protesters gathered in front of the landmark Taipei 101 building. Chanting slogans and holding up placards, the protesters demanded the government to reflect on the capitalist framework. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 32-YEAR-OLD HOME-OFFICE WORKER, WU MING-HSUAN, SAYING: "Everyday I have to work 12 to 16 hours a day at home. Although it seems relaxing to work at home, but work starts immediately after I wake up until the minute I go to sleep, but this job doesn't give me a good life. I cannot support a family, and can't even think about getting married or having kids." The protesters say they are upset that the country's economic growth only benefited corporations, while middle-class salaries could hardly afford skyrocketing costs of housing, education, and health care. Other global protests are planned in London, Frankfurt, Washington and New York, among other cities on Saturday. Sophia Soo, Reuters.