[mgj-discuss] Thousands of demonstrators angered by war and poverty set to descend on
Washington next weekend
msysiuk at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 15 15:31:28 EDT 2002
Thousands of demonstrators angered by war and poverty set to descend on
Washington next weekend
Sun Apr 14,11:10 PM ET
By DAVID HO, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A magnet for violence-scarred protests, international finance
meetings are attracting thousands of demonstrators to Washington next
weekend on issues ranging from the war against terrorism to the Mideast
conflict. Police are hoping for peace, while bracing for trouble.
Anti-globalization activists plan protests outside the headquarters of the
World Bank (news - web sites) and International Monetary Fund (news - web
sites), opposing policies they say benefit the rich and harm the poor in
Those demonstrators will be joined by groups condemning the war in
Afghanistan (news - web sites), supporting the Palestinians and opposing
U.S. aid to Colombia and Israel.
"We want a peaceful solution to these problems," said Maria Ramos, an
organizer with the Mobilization to Stop the War. Her coalition includes
student and labor groups opposed to what they call the White House's "war
Ramos said she expects about 30,000 people on Saturday for an anti-war rally
and march beginning near the Washington Monument and ending near the
Capitol. She said scheduled speakers include Martin Luther King III and New
York civil rights activist Al Sharpton.
District of Columbia Police Chief Charles Ramsey said he has ordered his
entire force to duty to deal with the protests and emergencies elsewhere in
the city. Several hundred National Guard troops and police from Maryland and
Virginia will be available to help.
The Capitol Police and U.S. Park Police will have extra officers on duty.
Police cameras on downtown rooftops will track the demonstrations.
"Our biggest concern is that these protests have resulted in violent
behavior on the part of some protesters in the past and that's what we have
to guard against," Ramsey said. "The majority are peaceful, but it's that
one element that tends to show up at these things that gives us concern."
Anti-globalization protesters have clashed with police since the movement
first gained attention in 1999 in Seattle. Most protesters are peaceful, and
many blame police for triggering the violence.
Confrontations last year outside the Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy,
resulted in extensive property damage, hundreds of arrests and injuries and
the death of one Italian protester who was shot by police.
In April 2000, Washington police arrested about 1,300 people during
demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank. In September 2001, large
planned protests against the global financial institutions were canceled
after the terrorist attacks and peaceful anti-war marches were held instead.
IMF spokesman Thomas Dawson said he thought the anti-globalization protests
during the IMF-World Bank meeting would be more subdued.
"We do not expect anything like the events of two years ago," he said.
Police also are concerned about the possibility of clashes between
protesters and counter-demonstrators such as the participants in the
"Patriot's Rally for America." That event, sponsored by the conservative
group Free Republic, is being held on the other side of the Washington
Monument from the anti-war protest.
Peter LaPorte, director of the city's Emergency Management Agency, said
there will be street closings, security perimeters and checkpoints around
areas near the White House and the World Bank.
The nine-foot-tall (three meter tall) security fencing used in Italy and
planned for protests in Washington last September will not be used in the
city this time, said Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin.
The White House protest is planned by International ANSWER, a
socialist-leaning anti-war coalition that originally intended to oppose the
war on terrorism, but changed its focus after the increase in Mideast
violence. Organizer Sarah Sloan said thousands of demonstrators, including
many Arab and Muslim groups, will march in support of the Palestinians and
against U.S. aid to Israel.
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