Protesters from the anti-capitalist Blockupy movement have blocked streets surrounding the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and targeted Deutsche Bank's headquarters and Frankfurt airport.
Reuters estimated that 2,500 people besieged the ECB headquarters to protest against the bank's role in encouraging governments in the eurozone to implement austerity measures to cut debt and solve the continent's crisis.
The ECB said it had taken measures to remain open despite the demonstrations. Protesters, some holding inflatable mattresses with the slogan "War streets here", have been met by armed police in helmets and riot gear along with trucks carrying water cannons.
A statement by the federal Blockupy coalition said that "more than 3,000 people have surrounded and bolt the ECB at the Willy-Brandt-Platz".
"The business of the ECB is successfully disrupted," said Blockupy speaker Ani Diesselmann. "The Blockupy coalition has reached its first goal and more
crisis actors will be marked during the day."
The movement, formed after the Occupy Wall Street initiative in 2011, also targeted Deutsche Bank for its role in food price speculation. Charities such as Oxfam said the practice has a negative impact on consumers costs and can exacerbate famine in Third World countries.
In a recent letter to German lobby group Foodwatch, the bank's director Lars Hille said that Deutsche Bank was poised to end speculation in food commodities. Other German banks, including Commerzbank, DekaBank and Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, have stopped trading in agricultural commodities.