by Public WebWorks Staff
||Police drag protestors
||The protests from a participants view
|In order to view the video or the stills you need to have RealPlayer installed.
Police used tear gas, pepper spray and billy clubs on occasion, but most of
Sunday's 7,000 to 10,000 protesters saw little violence at the April 16
demonstration in Washington D.C. against the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank.
Chanting and waving placards, protesters clogged roads and sidewalks
around 20 city blocks. Even so, they failed to stop delegates from getting
to their morning meetings, unlike the World Trade Organization meeting in
Seattle which was canceled.
The action began in a light drizzle before dawn as demonstrators deployed
from Farragut Square and Washington Circle to converge on the blocks around
the Pennsylvania Avenue offices of the international banking policymakers.
By noon, tear gas and pepper spray had been deployed in several small
scale skirmishes. Officers were dressed in full riot gear, but many were not
wearing badge numbers and other identification tags.
Police brass said their show of force was justified after confiscation of
what they called the makings of a Molotov cocktail from one protester, and
the use of homemade pepper spray by others.
However, four video crews for the Public WebWorks did not see any
evidence that protesters were preparing to assault police. Indeed, police
appeared to turn violent with no provocation at all.
Representatives of the newsmedia were among the injured, including an
Associated Press photography who was knocked unconscious when police tossed
him onto his head.
Many protesters displayed little grasp of the monetary policies which
have brought such attention to World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
But speakers at a rally on the Ellipse attempted to sharpen the message.
"The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have stumbled so
often; have backed the wrong companies so often; have used their money pumps
to back the wrong projects so often ...that they are now uniting both the
progressive and conservatives," Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph
Nader said from a stage.