Chief Says Police Ready for Protests; Demonstrations Likely to Be Smaller

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 12, 2003 | Go to article overview

Chief Says Police Ready for Protests; Demonstrations Likely to Be Smaller


Byline: Matthew Cella, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said antiwar and antiglobalization protests scheduled for this weekend may disrupt traffic, but he expects them to be smaller than similar demonstrations in the past.

The police chief said his entire force will work 12-hour shifts this weekend, seven outside jurisdictions will lend officers to the District, and 22 surveillance cameras will monitor marches and rallies.

In advance of the demonstrations, streets were closed last night to vehicles and pedestrians without business credentials inside a wide perimeter surrounding the White House and the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank at H Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Police expect the closures to remain in effect until Monday morning, unless the streets can safely be reopened before that.

But for all his preparation, Chief Ramsey said he's not sure whether to expect 200, 2,000 or 20,000 demonstrators.

"Our intelligence right now indicates it's going to be far smaller than the last time," Chief Ramsey said, referring to antiglobalization rallies in September that drew tens of thousands.

"Why we don't really have a good sense is that we just can't seem get a handle on how many antiwar protesters are actually coming in this time around, especially in light of the recent turn of events in Iraq."

Protesters from the group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, or ANSWER, plan a meandering march at noon today starting at Freedom Plaza and ending at Farragut Square to protest the war in Iraq.

At the same time, the Citizens United Foundation and the Young America's Foundation are holding a rally on the west side of the U. …

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