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Occupy Wall Street: Protests Spread to Islamabad, If Only For A Day

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Pakistani paramilitary soldiers patrol in front of the President House in Islamabad, November 4, 2007. | Getty

Well, it wasn't much, but the Occupy movement found accomplices earlier this week in perhaps one of the most far-flung places yet: Pakistan's capital city, Islamabad.

According to CNN, some 75 people gathered in front of the local headquarters of the World Bank on Wednesday, chanting anti-capitalist and pro-labor slogans like "Should we eat dust or stones?" or "Where should we go? What should we eat? Inflation has reached its peak."

A pamphlet handed out by the group more closely echoed the rhetoric of Occupy protesters in the United States, where the movement has spread to dozens of cities, saying, "We are the 99%. We will drive out the international 1%."

Pakistan Today reported that, like in some of the more tense domestic Occupy rallies, police maintained a close eye and heavy presence at the Islamabad event, even occasionally deploying "rough" tactics with some of the protestors.

Farzana Bari, one of the leaders of the local Anti-Capitalist Committee, which helped organize the event, told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn that the primary point of the protest -- not unlike those in New York or Oakland or Atlanta -- was to represent the 99 percent of Pakistanis who considered themselves oppressed by a "greedy capitalist" political structure.

"The fruits of working class's hard work go to the capitalist class while the distressed in the working class are committing suicide today because they are unable to meet the needs of their families and their children," Bari said.

But the Wednesday protest also had a distinctive national flavor. Protesters in Islamabad also directed much of their frustration at international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank, calling for them to leave and stop meddling with Pakistan's economy.

They also chanted against the pending privatization of many of Pakistan's national utilities, as well as the military's outsized influence and budget.

"The army helps entrench the capitalistic system by supporting the status quo and it is taking a very large percentage of the budget, so nothing is left for the poor," Bari told Dawn.

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