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IMF, World Bank to Stay Downtown

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo IMF, World Bank to Stay Downtown By Manny Fernandez and Paul Blustein Washington Post
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2001
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      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      IMF, World Bank to Stay Downtown

      By Manny Fernandez and Paul Blustein
      Washington Post Staff Writers
      Wednesday, July 11, 2001; Page B01

      The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will
      break a 20-year tradition and move meetings from a Woodley
      Park hotel to their headquarters buildings in downtown
      Washington because of anti-globalization protests planned
      for this year's annual sessions.

      The decision to hold all meetings in the downtown area came
      after consultation with D.C. police and federal officials,
      who expressed concern about demonstrations in the quaint
      Washington neighborhood that is home to the Swiss Embassy,
      gourmet restaurants and the National Zoo.

      "The World Bank and the IMF have decided to hold their 2001
      annual meetings in and around the bank and fund buildings,
      rather than in a residential area," said Caroline Anstey,
      chief spokeswoman for the World Bank. "We regard this as a
      common-sense precaution, to ensure business as usual for
      people attending the meetings and to make life easier for
      the local community."

      The World Bank and the IMF have held plenary sessions of
      their annual meetings at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel on
      Woodley Road NW for 20 years.

      The annual meetings, which will run from the end of
      September through the first days of October, will draw more
      than 7,000 finance ministers, economic policymakers and
      private bankers from the 183 nations that are members of the
      two world bodies. Protesters, who say that policies of the
      two organizations lead to poverty in developing countries
      and to environmental harm, are expected to number 30,000 to
      40,000, police say.

      The session that was moved downtown involves a meeting of
      the boards of governors of the IMF and the World Bank, the
      institutions' governing bodies, which consist of
      representatives from each member country. Officials said
      moving the site of the session does not affect the agenda of
      the meetings.

      Residents breathed a sigh of relief at the news. "We're
      delighted," said Martin Murray, of the Woodley Park
      Community Association, adding that neighbors had lately been
      having nightmare visions of tear gas and mass arrests.
      "We're hoping that this will mean that the protest will be
      focused outside of Woodley Park."

      Spray-paint graffiti reading "www.abolishthebank.org" had
      recently shown up on some sidewalks, and many residents had
      feared more of the same, Murray said. "People were starting
      to think, 'Oh Lord, this is the beginning of a long, hot
      summer,' " said Murray, president of the 300-member
      neighborhood association.

      Cmdr. Michael Radzilowski, head of the D.C. police special
      operations division, said the possibility of moving the
      session out of Woodley Park came up during a meeting of
      local and federal law enforcement officials about two weeks
      ago. He said police also will benefit from the move because
      they will have to provide protection for only one area
      instead of two. "Any type of large-scale protest in that
      area will make their lives miserable," he said, referring to
      residents.

      Tony Fratto, a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury, added,
      "Everybody felt it made sense to try to alleviate pressure
      in that area."

      But organizers with the Mobilization for Global Justice, one
      of the main coalitions coordinating the fall protests, said
      residents still may see demonstrators in the neighborhood if
      a large number of officials from the two organizations stay
      at the hotel. "Wherever the World Bank and IMF is meeting or
      staying is still a legitimate protest target," said a
      coalition member.

      Other protesters saw the move as an early sign of victory.
      "It just makes our sentiments all the more true," said
      Jennifer Carr, a Mobilization organizer. "They feel they
      need to run away from us. Their credibility is on the line,
      not our protests."

      The decision to change locations does not affect protesters'
      plans, organizers said, since many of the details are being
      ironed out. Police have said they are beefing up their
      forces by recruiting extra officers from cities and counties
      near and far. Authorities said the extra help is needed to
      handle what they expect to be the greatest number of
      protesters in Washington since the Vietnam War.

      The last time D.C. police confronted a substantial number of
      anti-globalization protesters was during the World Bank and
      IMF spring meetings in April 2000. Police were praised by
      law enforcement officials for their handling of the
      demonstrations, although some protesters complained of
      brutality and of grim jail conditions.

      Since then, D.C. police officials, who contained that
      demonstration to several square blocks downtown, have
      visited other cities that were sites of anti-globalization
      protests. Some of their tactics have been adopted by police
      in other cities.

      The only other city to host an annual meeting was Prague
      last year. Every third year the meetings are held in another
      country. Prague protesters fought with police and disrupted
      social aspects of the meetings, although necessary business
      was completed by both groups.

      Staff writer Arthur Santana contributed to this report.
      D.C. Braces For IMF Protests This Fall

      3,600 Officers Sought From Region, Beyond

      By Arthur Santana and Manny Fernandez
      Washington Post Staff Writers
      Tuesday, July 10, 2001; Page B01

      D.C. police are recruiting 3,600 officers from nearly a
      dozen other cities and counties to help handle what they
      expect to be the greatest number of protesters Washington
      has seen since the Vietnam War.

      Police officials say they need to double their force because
      they expect as many as 40,000 protesters to descend on the
      city for the annual meeting of the International Monetary
      Fund and the World Bank at the end of September and
      beginning of October.

      At the last such protests in the District, during the April
      2000 meetings, demonstrators clashed with police, and
      sections of downtown were cordoned off for several days of
      meetings.

      This time, District police say, they expect many more
      protesters, and they want to handle them and maintain their
      usual coverage of the city.

      Meanwhile, protest organizers said last night that nothing
      they plan warrants a massive police presence.

      In the last few weeks, D.C. police have asked for the
      largest contingent -- 1,000 -- from the New York City Police
      Department.

      Other departments called for assistance include Baltimore,
      Charlotte and Philadelphia, said Executive Assistant Chief
      Terrance W. Gainer. D.C. police also expect to call area
      agencies, such as those in Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery
      and Prince George's counties. State patrol forces from
      Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania will also be tapped, as
      in the past, he said.

      "Reaching out to those other big cities that far away is a
      new approach," Gainer said. "We wanted to augment the
      resources we have here. We've heard some estimates that
      they'll have 30,000 or 40,000 protesters."

      Police expect protesters to convene downtown, especially
      around the World Bank and IMF buildings at Pennsylvania
      Avenue and 18th and 19th streets NW. "And we'll need to
      double the size of our agency to handle that while at the
      same time providing a police presence in the rest of the
      city," Gainer said.

      The protesters advocate various causes and say World Bank
      and IMF policies victimize workers and contribute to poverty
      in developing nations. Protests in 2000 were characterized
      by mass arrests.

      Gainer said that it's unclear what jurisdictions will be
      willing to commit officers and how many they will offer. He
      said that the department has not ironed out how to pay for
      the help.

      "It will be in the millions of dollars," he said, adding
      that D.C. police plan to pay the visiting officers' regular
      salary, overtime, room and board.

      Meanwhile, New York officials said they are close to lending
      their cooperation. "We're taking a look at it," said New
      York police spokesman Tom Antenan. "It's not official, but
      it looks like it's going to happen."

      He said New York officers would be asked to voluntarily head
      south for the meeting -- from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 -- and the
      anticipated protests.

      Antenan said that New York City hasn't offered so many
      officers in recent memory but that the temporary
      recruitment, which would be treated like paid detail, would
      not be felt in the city of 40,000 uniformed officers.

      Cmdr. Michael Radzilowski, head of the D.C. police special
      operations division -- who is to retire Friday after 31
      years with the department -- will pass the command to Cmdr.
      Jose Acosta.

      Radzilowski said he expected Washington to see the most
      protesters since the Vietnam War.

      "It's going to be of that magnitude," Radzilowski said.

      Gainer agreed, saying, "It will very well be the largest
      protest group with potential for violent overtones.

      "Many of the protesters are strong-willed but have no
      intention of destroying property," he said. "But there are
      other groups that are hell-bent on destruction of business
      property and doing battle with police and trying to bring
      the city to a standstill, and we won't permit them to do
      that."

      Radzilowski said police have begun to monitor protesters'
      Web sites to gauge their strength. "All the information that
      we're getting right now is from the Internet," he said.

      He said he hoped to meet with protesters, as he did in 2000,
      to discuss diminishing the threat of violence.

      "Hopefully, we can come to a meeting of the minds," he said.

      Protest organizers who could be reached last night said they
      plan nonviolent, education-focused demonstrations against
      the IMF and World Bank.

      The police "are the ones who are preparing for war and are
      preparing to create problems. It is not us," said Njoki
      Njoroge Njehu, director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network,
      an activist group that is a leading critic of the IMF and
      World Bank.

      Njehu said police overreaction would create a combative
      environment for what are planned as noncombative protests.

      "There's no evidence given what happened here last year that
      proves that police need to take these kind of excessive
      measures," Njehu said. "It's way out of scale."

      She said police have a false stereotype of the protesters
      who will be on the streets. She described the
      anti-globalization protest movement as "grandmothers and
      grandfathers. It's high school kids. It is rank-and-file
      union members. It is all kinds of different people."

      Organizers said it's too early to estimate how many will
      take part.

      "There's millions, if not billions, who are displaced by IMF
      and World Bank policies around the world," said Stephen
      Kretzmann, an organizer with the Mobilization for Global
      Justice, one of the main coalitions coordinating the
      protests. "We definitely expect some of them to show up."

      Kretzmann said adding officers adds to the potential for
      police misconduct. "We saw lots of arbitrary arrests last
      time around . . . lots of police misconduct, and we're
      concerned," he said.

      Protest activities are planned from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4,
      including a mass rally Sept. 30 in downtown Washington.

      --
      Dan Clore
      mailto:clore@...

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