Cars and barricades burn during anti-austerity protests outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Police and anti-austerity protesters clashed in Frankfurt on Wednesday as the European Central Bank inaugurates its new high-rise headquarters in the city. Cars and barricades have been set alight. The protesters oppose austerity policies they blame on the ECB. The gathering follows protests in Cyprus outside a meeting of the ECB's decision-making Governing Council and marks dissatisfaction with the powerful institution, which has sought to distance itself from political wrangling in the euro zone. The ECB is influential as a provider of finance to the banks of struggling countries and has in recent weeks sanctioned a drip feed of extra emergency finance to Greece's lenders. The Greek Finance Minister last week criticised ECB policy toward Athens as 'asphyxiating', a criticism also made by the protest organizers. Earlier this year, the ECB stopped accepting Greek bonds as security in return for funding, when that country's new leftist government all but abandoned its reform-for-aid pledges. Protest organisers were expecting some 3,000 people from abroad to join the protest, with a further 7,000 coming from Germany.