Vampires on stilts jeer bankers in Frankfurt

The Lehman Brothers booth on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, is shown in this September 16, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - Dozens of demonstrators blaming bankers for tipping the world into financial crisis jeered financiers arriving for the annual Euro Finance Week that started on Monday in Germany’s financial capital.

Two protestors dressed as vampires and standing on stilts braved rainy weather to hold up a sign that read: “First lesson for today: Lehman losers need repay.”

They were referring to the demise of Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers last year, an event that plunged markets into turmoil as investors realized, to their horror and at times panic, that some banks were not too big to fail.

Fending off criticism that the greed of bankers triggered the worst financial crisis since the 1930s is a main challenge for the 10,000 participants expected at the annual event in Frankfurt, which costs 800 euros ($1,200) a day.

Another protestor had a sign that said: “Pensions, homes, studies -- more than just money collapsed with Lehman.”

The rest of the city -- where bank skyscrapers trace Frankfurt’s urban skyline -- took the event in stride.

The posh Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof -- where suites cost up to 1,320 euros a night -- and other luxury hotels were booked out only to midweek.

Event manager Anja Uhrig said the Frankfurter Hof had not laid in extra champagne for the event.

“Not more and not less than during the rest of the year. Our guests are in general very sophisticated,” she said.

Reporting by Eva Kuehnen and Edward Taylor