[mgj-discuss] Wash Post Apr 18: Organizers of IMF Protest Object to Route
denis at riseup.net
Thu Apr 18 10:17:45 EDT 2002
Organizers of IMF Protest Object to Route
March After Saturday Rally Would Miss Offices of Multinational Corporations
By Manny Fernandez and Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 18, 2002; Page B02
District police have told anti-globalization marchers that they can't
assemble Saturday for protests outside the downtown Washington offices of
Coca-Cola Co. and two other major corporations, a ban organizers say is
Members of the Mobilization for Global Justice had been preparing
street-theater skits featuring stilt-walkers, an inflatable globe and soda
pop, outside the offices of Coca-Cola, Citibank and Monsanto Co. -- to
follow a protest earlier in the day at the International Monetary Fund and
But D.C. police issued a march permit last week with a route that keeps the
demonstrators away from those offices. Organizers said the new route was a
shock, because they requested the permit in late March and do not plan civil
disobedience or property destruction.
"For them to come back and say, 'No, you can't go there,' is a complete
denial of our First Amendment rights," said Adam Eidinger, 28, a member of
the District-based coalition. He said some demonstrators will proceed as
planned with or without a permit.
"They are setting up a confrontation unnecessarily after we have attempted
to cooperate with the police for the last month," Eidinger said.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that a permit application
is a wish list, not a guarantee. He said that because police will be
monitoring so many groups Saturday -- at least four marches are planned --
organizers did not get all the march routes they sought.
"We can't just take them on the scenic route that they're asking for," he
Ramsey said police also took into account past protests staged in front of
"There was damage last time," he said, referring to tires that were slashed
and graffiti painted on businesses during last year's inaugural protests.
Eidinger said that his group is nonviolent and that he knew of no instance
in which members destroyed property at a demonstration.
Police are trying to cover the various protests without depleting
neighborhood patrols, a concern of community leaders.
"The route they were asking for would tie up too many officers for too much
time," Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said. He said
police can't pin past damage on any one group but must take into account
what might be done by splinter groups not associated with peaceful
Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected by organizers to protest
tomorrow through Monday over a host of issues, including U.S. aid to Israel,
activities of the World Bank and IMF, and foreign policy in Colombia.
The original permit application sought a march route that headed north on
18th Street NW, then east on H Street to Connecticut Avenue, where
organizers wanted to stage a brief skit outside Coca-Cola offices. The rest
of the route would have taken them south on 14th Street NW, then east on G
Street to a Citibank branch, then to Monsanto offices near 13th and G
The permit approved by police lets protesters rally outside the IMF and
World Bank, then march south on 17th Street to Constitution Avenue,
eventually joining other marchers at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue
Protest organizers say they picked the companies to draw attention to the
deaths of union organizers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Colombia,
Citibank profits from Colombia's debt and Monsanto products they said harm
"We view the police mandate to block these protests as an example of how
corporate interests routinely trump those of citizens," Eidinger said.
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
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