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Smashed Windows and Torched Cars: Occupy Protests Turn Violent in Rome

Demonstrators march past a burning car in downtown Rome Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. Tens of thousands marched during a global day of protests sparked in part by the ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" movement. (AFP)

ROME (The Blaze/AP) -- Protesters in Rome smashed shop windows and torched cars as violence broke out during a demonstration in the Italian capital, part of worldwide protests against corporate greed and austerity measures.

The "Occupy Wall Street" protests that began in Canada and spread to cities across the U.S. moved Saturday to Asia and Europe, linking up with anti-austerity demonstrations that have raged across the debt-ridden continent for months.

Black smoke billowed into the air in downtown Rome as a small group of violent protesters broke away from the main demonstration. They smashed car windows, set at least two vehicles on fire and assaulted two news crews of Sky Italia, the TV reported. Others burned Italian and EU flags.

Watch footage of the protest, via Sky Italia:

Police were out in force in Rome as some 100,000 protesters were expected a day after Premier Silvio Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote. Italy, with a national debt ratio second only to Greece in the 17-nation eurozone, is rapidly becoming a focus of concern in Europe's debt crisis.

"People of Europe: Rise Up!" read a banner in Rome. Some peaceful demonstrators turned against the violent group and tried to stop them, hurling bottles at them, Sky and the ANSA news agency reported. Others fled, scared by the violence.

Protesters nicknamed "the indignant" also marched in other cities across the world.

In Frankfurt, continental Europe's financial capital, some 5,000 people protested in front of the European Central Bank, while in London, around 500 people marched from St. Paul's cathedral to the nearby stock exchange.

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