M1 targets ASX for May 1 anti-globalisation protest

The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is attempting to play down reports that anti-globalisation group M1 will target the ASX in the thousands in a protest on May 1.

The M1 alliance is believed to be targeting the stock exchange and a number of Australian mining houses, banks and multinational companies in Sydney and Melbourne on May 1, protesting against "all that capitalism stands for" and attempting to halt trading, an ASX spokesperson said.

"M1 has said that the ASX is a symbol of all that's wrong with capitalism," the spokesperson said.

However, he maintained the ASX would continue with "business as normal".

"I'm not saying we're not concerned, and we certainly don't discuss our security arrangements, but we're not going to be prompted to overreact."

M1 is backed by various factions of the trade union movement including student groups, anti-child labour groups, and unionist groups in Victoria.

The group is also reportedly linked to S11, the protest group which barracaded the World Economic Forum in Melbourne last October.

The Victorian Trades Hall denied earlier this month it would be involved in the ASX blockade.

The ASX spokesperson speculated that M1 may be at odds with the ASX's plans to form international trading alliances with the New York and several Asia-Pacific region stock exchanges, aimed at integrating the ASX into the global marketplace.

Specifically, the ASX's international initiatives include the World Link Project - a co-trading facility with the Singapore Exchange and one-way link to US markets - and participation in the GEM (Global Equity Markets), under which the New York Exchange would establish a framework of multilateral links between nine member exchanges including Hong Kong's, according to the ASX.

While M1 protestors have made their mark in the past by cutting phone lines and blocking building entrances, the spokeperson said last year's group of 100 outside the Bridge St, Sydney Exchange Centre on May Day had been "peaceful".

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