Monday, April 27, 2009

Washington DC: Anarchists Kind of Throw Down Against IMF/WB

Six people were arrested this morning for smashing the windows of bank branches and spray painting cars near Logan Circle, vandalism thought to be connected to protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's annual meetings in Washington, D.C. police said.

"We believe that they are linked; it's a logical conclusion," said Cmdr. James Crane, head of the department's Special Operations Division. "Some of the individuals were from out of town."

The arrests came before a rally this morning near the World Bank headquarters in which about 150 protesters tried to surge through a police line, Crane said. Police had beefed up patrols in advance of the protests, and after the arrests this morning they stationed additional officers around the protesters.

An off-duty D.C. police officer working security at a drug store this morning spotted the six breaking windows of a Wachovia Bank branch and a PNC bank branch in the 1400 block of P St NW, Crane said. The officer arrested two of the suspects. Other officers arrested the remaining four as they fled the area, Crane said.

The group had also spray painted cars parked near the Whole Foods across the street, Crane said.

They were charged with felony counts of destruction of property and rioting, a charge that police said they brought because the group was larger than five people.

Crane said the vandalism appeared to be an isolated incident. There was no similar damage reported anywhere else in the District overnight, he said.

The D.C.-based group Global Justice Action sponsored peaceful demonstrations Friday with about 75 people participating in a "speak out" at Edward R. Murrow park. Speakers accused the IMF, the private organization that oversees global finance, of contributing to the worldwide economic downturn and creating policies that are harmful to people in impoverished countries.

The weekend of protests included a scheduled "confrontational street protest" as well as a larger rally tomorrow.

Organizers said the protests were planned to coincide with the IMF and World Bank meetings and as a reaction to the G-20 economic leaders' decision this month to earmark $1.1 trillion for a combined IMF-World Bank rescue fund. Some participants also were rallying against insufficient aid to Africa and the closing of the Franklin homeless shelter in Northwest Washington.

Near Logan Circle, more than a dozen windows were smashed; glass was scattered on the sidewalk.

"There is no connection between the local banks and the IMF," said Jeff Walpole, who was having breakfast at an outdoor table at the restaurant the Commissary. "But these are angry people who don't understand that." (Wait, he was just eating breakfast and they asked him for his opinion? Seriously?)

One person was taken to the hospital for an injured leg and dozens more were treated for burns from pepper spray, including one police officer, when police clashed with protesters near the site of the IMF World Bank.

A 22-year-old, accused of kicking a member of law enforcement, has been arrested and charged with assault on a police officer.

After marching for nearly two hours through District streets, about 200 people carrying signs that said "Capitalism--Do Not Resuscitate" and shouting "Feed the Poor! Eat the Rich!" were stopped by police as they tried to make a U- turn at the corner of Pennsylvania and 20th around 9:45 a.m.

The police were put in danger when they were surrounded as the crowd turned around so they ordered protesters to move to the sidewalk. They resisted. Some pounded their hands on the hood of a police car.

The police formed a line and began pushing the group back with batons. The demonstrators did not have permits to march in the street.

In the tussle, some protesters fell to the ground. One officer from a federal agency used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Police said at least one protester also used pepper spray on police. One officer who was sprayed in the eye was treated at the scene.

The protesters had intended to block delegates from entering the meetings this morning, but they arrived late. They have another march planned tomorrow.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

yo the early morning stuff according to the Washington post caused several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.