New ECB Frankfurt HQ's Literal Baptism of Fire

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 3/19/2015 01:30:00 AM
A jubilant display of fireworks greets the opening of the ECB's new Franfurt digs.
For an increasingly controversial organization, the ECB opening its new, EUR 1.3B headquarters in Frankfurt was never going to go down well with its critics. Namely, the European left. Having prescribed so much austerity, it doesn't sit well with protesters that relatively well-off central bankers have built such an expensive building. To no one's real surprise, its inauguration has brought a pan-European protest to the usually sleepy German town. Riots have raged as police cars have been set on fire, protesters have been roughed up, and the mood has turned sour:
Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the German city of Frankfurt. 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). Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening. "Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday. In earlier disturbances, police in riot gear used water cannon to clear hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters from the streets around the new ECB headquarters. 
Call it the European Cup of Anti-Austerity Protests. Moreover, it certainly doesn't look good that "Europe's central bank" has to be ringed with barbed wire to separate it from the folks it supposedly serves:
Organisers were bringing a left-wing alliance of protesters from across Germany and the rest of Europe to voice their anger at the ECB's role in austerity measures in EU member states, most recently Greece. The bank, in charge of managing the euro, is also responsible for framing eurozone policy and, along with the IMF and European Commission is part of a troika which has set conditions for bailouts in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus.

A spokesman for the Blockupy movement said the troika was responsible for austerity measures which have pushed many into poverty. Police set up a cordon of barbed wire outside the bank's new 185m (600ft) double-tower skyscraper, next to the River Main.
Uniting Europe has long been an elusive dream for the EU's architects. Ironically, could it be that they may be able to do so if these leftists succeed in getting more Europeans on their side in opposition to the European project? It is certainly a frightening prospect that you cannot rule out.

MarketWatch has more scenes from the battle in Frankfurt.