Web Sites See Violent Protests of Finance Meetings in D.C

Article excerpt

Postings on Web sites indicate that protests against international financial groups meeting here next week will turn violent, even as protest organizers and police call for peaceful demonstrations.

Protest events begin this weekend and will culminate April 16 and 17, when as many as 10,000 activists will use "large-scale, nonviolent direct action" to shut down meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The activists' so-called "Days of Action" kick off tomorrow with a march from a warehouse in the 1300 block of Florida Street NW to Malcolm X Park, where a free concert will be held from noon to 5 p.m.

Sunday afternoon, two groups on the National Mall will call for the cancellation of debt for poor countries and form a human chain around the U.S. Capitol but will not disrupt traffic, organizers said.

The scheduled events are billed as peaceful, and organizers have sworn off violence. But their goal to stop the World Bank and IMF meetings sets the stage for clashes with police.

"It's no secret we want to shut this down with civil disobedience," said Soren Ambrose, policy analyst with the 50 Years Is Enough network, a coalition of groups critical of IMF/World Bank policies for Third World nations.

Activists will use civil disobedience tactics like human barricades and sit-ins to prevent delegates from reaching the meetings, much like the protests last year in Seattle during meetings of the World Trade Organization. Those protests erupted into violence; more than 580 people were arrested and more than $10 million worth of property was destroyed.

Mobilization for Global Justice, a collection of protest groups, has a posting on its Web site (www.a16.org) that reads: "All this talk about non-violence in the face of the corporate violence threatening the people of the planet Earth is a wast (sic) of time."

"We MUST bring down the castles of capitalism by any and all means," reads the posting, which is signed by "JUDAH."

Another posting by "tobespierre" said property destruction is "inevitable," given the thousands of people who will protest.

Groups opposing the World Bank and IMF represent a variety of causes: the environment, labor, human rights, peace, anti-global capitalism and debt reduction for poor nations. Even patriot groups worried about losing national sovereignty and homosexual activists have joined the chorus of World Bank/IMF critics.

Protest targets in Washington include the World Bank and IMF buildings, the White House, Capitol Hill, the State Department and the Treasury Department.

The State Department has declared the World Bank and IMF buildings "temporary diplomatic missions," which places them under the protection of the Secret Service as well as the Metropolitan Police Department.

Police expect to close off the area immediately around the World Bank and the IMF buildings on April 16 and 17. …