Nightly News   |  October 15, 2011

From Wall Street to the world

Protests over big money and hard times reverberated around the world today, as tens of thousands took to the streets across the U.S., Europe and Africa. NBC's Keir Simmons reports.

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LESTER HOLT, anchor: The chorus of protests over big money and hard times reverberated around the world today as tens of thousands took to the streets from across the US to Europe and all the way to Johannesburg , railing against banks, corporate profits, and the wealthy. But it was in Rome that things turned violent with reports of at least 70 injured, cars set afire, and banks fire bombed. This day of global outrage was born of the nonviolent Occupy Wall Street movement that started here in New York . But it has easily found traction in parts of the world where folks are already simmering under the collar from harsh economic austerity measures. Collectively, their anger is clear, their specific demands less so. But, nonetheless, they've got the world's attention. NBC 's Keir Simmons leads off our coverage from London tonight .

KEIR SIMMONS reporting: This was the day protests on Wall Street went worldwide and, in places, turned violent. In Rome , some protesters interrupted a peaceful demonstration to smash bank windows and set fires. There were running battles with water cannons and tear gas. Reports say 20 were injured, protesters and police, after 100,000 had been expected for a demonstration inspired by events in America and fueled by anger at government cuts. In London , protesters were prevented from getting close to the stock exchange. There were five arrests, though the day was largely peaceful.

Crowd: Shame on you ! Shame on you !

Unidentified Man #1: It's about some people having money and living good lives, some people not having money and suffering because of it.

Unidentified Man #2: A lot of people I've worked with have lost their jobs. My pension's been raided.

SIMMONS: There are several thousand protesters here in London , part of a movement beginning in the United States , now spreading around the world. Five thousand gathered in Germany near the European Central Bank . The same slogans adopted in the US seen today in Germany , and in Tehran , and in Australia . Messages that have gone global, spread through the Internet .

Unidentified Woman: We want an alternative, one that's based on human need and human rights , not on, you know, corporate greed.

SIMMONS: In Hong Kong , they lay on the sidewalk. In Paris , Poland , and Portugal , small groups demonstrated. But, in Spain , organizers estimated that 300,000 took to the streets of Madrid , large numbers already furious over high unemployment there. Tonight, some streets in the Italian capital resemble a battlefield, burnt out vehicles include a police van . The prime minister called for arrests. The protesters calling for change around the world. Keir Simmons , NBC News, London .

LESTER HOLT, anchor: And back here in New