[mgj-discuss] Wash Times - Anti-IMF protests mostly peaceful
jhipolito at ufcw.org
Sun Apr 25 20:31:57 EDT 2004
The Washington Times
Anti-IMF protests mostly peaceful
By Denise Barnes and Tarron Lively
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published April 25, 2004
Thousand of protesters generally fulfilled their promise of a peaceful demonstration downtown yesterday against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund under the watch of nearly as many police officers -- many of whom were in riot gear and on horseback.
Marchers looped the downtown area from Franklin Square Park, stopping near the White House, the World Bank in the 1800 block of H Street NW, the Halliburton company and even the McDonald's restaurant in the 1300 block of New York Avenue NW to protest what they say are international corporations profiting from World Bank and IMF's lending practices.
Protesters chanted, waved an assortment of flags and carried posters including ones that read: "Capital kills like Crack," and "People over Profits."
Mobilization for Global Justice, the D.C.-based group co-organizing the event, demanded that the World Bank and IMF cancel the debt of the world's impoverished nations.
"We are here today to demonstrate our vehement opposition to anti-democracy, secretive, unaccountable international institutions like the World Bank and IMF," said David Levy, an organizer with the group. "These undemocratic institutions have only seen the start of a global movement to radically curtail their destructive effects on the poor and the environment."
The Metropolitan Police Department reported some arrests.
Mary A. Loesch, 19, of Kent, Ohio, and Antonia Kaminski, 21, of Johnston, R.I., were arrested on charges of felony destruction of property.
Miss Loesch was arrested and charged with damaging vehicles in the 900 block of 20th Street NW. Mr. Kaminski was arrested on the same charges in the 1800 block of I Street NW.
Police so far have reports of 18 vehicles -- including a Mercedes-Benz, a Subaru and a Lexus -- either damaged with "No IMF" stickers or scratched with keys.
Miss Loesch and Mr. Kaminski are being held until they are arraigned tomorrow in D.C. Superior Court.
Jeffrey Lee White, 46, of Twin Peaks, Calif., was arrested at about 10:30 a.m. near the Planned Parenthood clinic in the 1100 block of 16th Street NW for carrying what appeared to be a human fetus. He was charged with a misdemeanor under the D.C. code of "keeping and exhibiting dead bodies or parts."
Police said a protester was arrested for using a slingshot to shoot metal tacks at an officer. The name of the protester had not been released as of late last night.
The protest yesterday was in sharp contrast to a September 2002 protest in which demonstrators lit a smoke bomb, overturned newspaper boxes and vowed to "shut down the city."
About 700 of an estimated 1,750 demonstrators were arrested at the time. Roughly 200 protesters were arrested after being herded into Pershing Park at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said at the time that the protesters were warned to get out of the street. Five demonstrators were charged with misdemeanor destruction of property. The rest were charged either with failure to obey a police officer or with parading without a permit. Officials also reported four injuries to protesters.
Yesterday, District police had a network of 14 cameras and three temporary ones affixed to downtown buildings to monitor the crowd. District police were assisted by officers from the U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service.
The anti-globalization protest coincided with the 60th anniversary of the World Bank and the IMF and with their scheduled annual spring meetings yesterday and today.
Police set up barricades around buildings and closed several streets, as they will today for the expected hundreds of thousands of pro-choice protesters.
This will be the first abortion-rights march in the District in 12 years. It is also the fourth since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion 31 years ago.
"We have to march to make people stop and think ... most Americans support a woman's right to choose, and yet the most powerful political institutions of our government are in the hands of people who want to take that right to choose away," said Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Police said 500,000 people participated in the 1992 march, while organizers estimated about 750,000 took part. Organizers of today's protest say they expect 1 million protesters.
Today's events will begin at 10 a.m. with a rally on the Mall and will be followed by a march through downtown that starts at noon.
Damian S. Milverton, the World Bank's senior communications officer, said the organization is aware of the anti-globalization protesters' complaints and acknowledges that changes in foreign policy are in order.
"One of the things we have tried to do by talking to the [protesters] outside the building is to learn from mistakes," he told WRC-TV (Channel 4). He said bank executives believe they have made improvements.
For example, the IMF and the World Bank had begun a program that is expected to reduce the debt of 27 nations by more than $50 billion within the next 20 years, Mr. Milverton said. He also said debt cancellation will be a topic at this weekend's meetings.
Basav Sen, a protester who works at the Center for Economic Justice in Northwest, said the institutions destroy lives with their policies.
"Argentina is in some ways a textbook example of how IMF destroyed the country," he said. "IMF recommended that they peg their currency to the U.S. dollar. The result of that was the currency was overvalued and the country's exports suffered."
Mr. Sen, 38, said that as a result workers lost their jobs and the economy subsequently collapsed in 2001.
Today, the Feminist Majority will hold an abortion-rights rally and march in the District. To facilitate the March for Women's Lives, the following streets will be closed today from 11:30 a.m. until approximately 4:30 p.m.
* 7th Street, between Independence Avenue SW and E Street NW
* 9th Street, between Constitution Avenue NW and E Street NW
* 10th Street, between Constitution Avenue NW and E Street NW
* 11th Street, between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and E Street NW
* 12th Street, between Independence Avenue NW and E Street NW
* 13th Street, between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and E Street NW
* 14th Street, between Independence Avenue SW and F Street NW
* 15th Street, between Independence Avenue SW and F Street NW
* 17th Street, between Independence Avenue SW and E Street NW
* Constitution Avenue, from 3rd Street NW to 23rd Street NW
* Pennsylvania Avenue, from 3rd Street NW to 15th Street NW
* The 9th and 12th Street tunnels, crossing Constitution Avenue NW
* Inbound 14th Street from 395 north, both HOV and non-HOV lanes will be diverted to the eastbound SE/SW Freeway
* The 12th Street tunnel in both the eastbound and westbound direction of the SE/SW Freeway
Additionally, the following streets crossing the National Mall may be closed for safety reasons from 9:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.
* 4th Street, between Independence and Constitution avenues NW
* 7th Street, between Independence and Constitution avenues NW
Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Joey J. Hipolito
United Food & Commercial Workers
International Union (UFCW)
1775 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
phone: (202) 466-1590
fax: (202) 466-1587
jhipolito at ufcw.org
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