Occupy Wall Street protesters battered in New York; a message to Angela Merkel on how to head off eurozone contagion; and Aung San Suu Kyl vowing "change from within" as reforms in Burma raise hopes of a turning point there. That's the focus for this look at the international press, Friday 18th November 2011.
The front page of the New York Post headlines: “Occupy Wall Street protesters cause mayhem” alongside a photo of a blood-strewn face. It quotes one protester saying: “This is the United States of America, I can walk on any sidewalk I want to”. And it says the NYPD added 1,000 cops per shift on Thursday as it “prepared for all-out war”. A cartoon in The New York Times, meanwhile, shows two traders chatting as demonstrators are being moved on: “Oh, what we’ve gone through” one says, and the other replies “Yeah, bonus well deserved”.
The USA Today International edition devotes its daily debate to the subject advising the “ragtag assembly” of protesters to turn their movement into a political one. It says the “occupation is a tactic in search of a goal” and “Wall Street’s destructive practices” can be changed within the usual public policy-making channels.
Among the Tweets on this subject we find “Repression Expands Resistance”, as well as “Occupy’s strength? Web Power!” And there's a sarcastic comment from Slate journalist Dave Weigel: “Hey, Thank God they broke up those protesters, they were about to bundle bad mortgages and bet trillions on unregulated derivatives.”
The International Herald Tribune editorial looks at the eurozone crisis. It has two messages for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. First, she “should tell the German people the truth” that “the real threat to Germany isn’t inflation; it is an economic collapse across Europe”. And secondly, she must go with other eurozone leaders to meet the technocrats now running Greece and Italy to negotiate growth-oriented reform packages.
The Wall Street Journal Europe has a comment piece by foreign affairs professor Walter Russell Mead who says the eurozone crisis reflects two competing visions of Europe – a French one and a German one. “The French bottom line,” he argues, “is that Germany must help raise the carcass of the French banking system from the dead” while the Germans want “to keep the euro sound, budgets balanced and let the chips fall where they may”. Mead says cultural differences are at play: the Germans are richer, more stubborn, the French are flashier and faster on their feet.
And is there hope for Burma? The Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are planning to return to politics and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the country next month. Britain’s Daily Telegraph has an interview with the pro-democracy activist. She pledges to change Burmese politics “from within”, saying that she does not want to be a prisoner of the past.