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DC PROTESTS APRIL 2000

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THE POLICE CITY

[From the Washington Post Style section article on constitutional lawyers Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard]

o Two undercover D.C. Police officers have infiltrated local protest groups, an assistant chief testified recently. A federal judge has given the District one month to identify the officers' aliases so plaintiffs can tell whether their rights have been infringed. A city lawyer said the surveillance is necessary not because of suspected criminal activity but because police need to know whether more officers are required for upcoming marches. Two other infiltrators were unmasked by activists, who say one suggested planting bombs on Potomac River bridges.

o Two men in street clothes -- one wearing a black ski mask -- were captured on amateur videotape roaming through the inauguration crowd. They shove bystanders and one pepper-sprays people seemingly at random. After two years of pressing by the Partnership, the District acknowledged the men were on-duty police officers. One has admitted pepper-spraying, but both deny anything they did was improper.

o FBI agents took notes on protesters boarding buses to the Bush inauguration and monitored activists' gatherings, including one at First Congregational United Church of Christ on G Street NW, according to government records.

o A document that the Justice Department claimed is a "state secret" turned out to be mainly a list of protest groups and activities, including the Sunday Anarchist Bowling League, according to records.

o A D.C. police video obtained by the Partnership called "The Changing Face of Demonstrations" shows footage of protests, and the narrator says that "law enforcement would target anybody dressed in black," the color of "anarchists."

JULY 2000

LAWSUIT FILED

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED charging the federal and DC governments with deliberately plotting to disrupt and stifle peaceful protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In it, the government is accused of having:

- unlawfully intimidated, harassed and disrupted the protest.
- falsely portrayed the protesters as threatening violence
- maliciously closed the protesters headquarters for pretextual fire code violations
- confiscated protesters political literature, banners and medical supplies
- wrongfully barred protesters from demonstrating near the World Bank-IMF meetings
- arrested hundreds of protesters without cause
- used excessive force against non-violent demonstrators all with the purpose of preventing the protesters from exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

The events of the April protest rank with the 1930's assault on the bonus marchers and the police May Day riot in 1971 as the most glaring abuses of police and government power against demonstrators in the capital's history.

EXCERPTS FROM SUIT

Plaintiff Rob Fish was injured by excessive police force on April 17, 2000 when he was taking photographs of police misconduct against demonstrators. Plaintiff Fish was beaten over the head by an undercover officer wielding a baton as he was taking pictures. Another officer who was in uniform stomped on his camera. Plaintiff Fish's personal property, including video camera and videotapes, was confiscated and not returned when defendants seized the Convergence Center.

Plaintiffs Patricia Doyle Mohammadi and her then 13-year-old daughter Mitra Mohammadi were arrested, separated and detained for eight or more hours without cause on April 15 at the IAC demonstration on 20th Street. Plaintiffs Mohammadis had sought to learn more about the demonstrations, and went to learn the views of the persons demonstrating against the prison-industrial complex as well as to videotape portions of the demonstrations that were occurring at that time. Plaintiffs Mohammadis were arrested without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Plaintiff Steve Olson was arrested April 15 at the IAC demonstration on 20th Street, N.W. As a producer for public access television, he had sought to inform the public about the demonstrations and the demonstrators' viewpoints. He was arrested and detained for over eighteen hours without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Plaintiff James Erich Keller is a biochemist who served as a legal observer for the demonstrations. On April 15, 2000 Plaintiff Keller, who was prominently wearing a green hat and a badge identifying him as a legal observer, was arrested and detained without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Defendants stopped and frisked individual protesters without reasonable suspicion or consent.

Agents of the defendants searched demonstration organizers or their vehicles without probable cause or consent, and made pretextual visits to their places of residence. They stopped demonstration organizers on the street, showed them photos which had been taken of them, named persons with whom the activists were associated, and otherwise made it known to them that the government was watching them.

Agents posing as political activists infiltrated the demonstrators' organizations and informal groups.

Government helicopters flew and hovered at low altitudes over the Convergence Center and the residences and property of protesters.

Defendants caused the George Washington University to ban overnight guests in its dormitories during the period of the protests and to prohibit demonstrators from using GWU facilities that had been promised to them; caused the American University to cancel an assembly and panel, which had included Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who was scheduled to speak on globalization and the World Bank and the IMF; and caused the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority both to close Metro stations that plaintiffs were expected to use and to prohibit passengers from carrying political banners and signs attached to thin pieces of wood, which is customarily allowed.

The Mobilization established its meeting house, or "Convergence Center" at 1328 Florida Avenue, NW The Mobilization used the Convergence Center as a place for meeting, exchanging political ideas, teaching techniques of non-violent civil disobedience, creating political signs, puppets and banners, and for the storage of tens of thousands of pieces of political material, including leaflets, newsletters, T-shirts, banners, puppets, buttons, circulars, posters and stickers . . . The protesters had assembled at the Convergence Center for approximately two weeks prior to April 15, during which time the defendants used extensive surveillance, including the use of undercover agents, to enter and observe the activities and conditions within the Convergence Center.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on April 15th, the DC Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Fire Department raided the Convergence Center. They declared the site to be in violation of the fire code, evicted all persons who were there, and sealed the doors.

Defendants refused to allow the removal of plaintiffs' political materials and their personal belongings, including food, clothing and medicine, although no fire hazard would have been presented by permitting them to do so.

By Saturday evening, attorneys for the protesters had arranged for an emergency hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 16, before United States District Judge Thomas Hogan, in which they intended to present their claims that the raid and confiscation had violated the protesters' constitutional rights. In exchange for cancellation of that hearing, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on April 16, the District of Columbia entered into a written agreement to allow the protesters to retrieve their materials at 7:00 a.m. on April 16 with the assistance of District officers.

However, when the protesters arrived with trucks at the appointed time, agents of the District of Columbia refused to assist in the removal of items, refused to allow the plaintiffs to remove their political literature and property, delayed, and threatened to arrest plaintiffs and their lawyer.

The District of Columbia kept the Convergence Center closed and refused to release the confiscated materials until approximately 7:00 p.m. on April 17th, a few hours after the demonstrations had ended. When released, much of the confiscated property was damage. Other confiscated property was missing. Video equipment, including video tapes of police misconduct, were never returned.

The above actions were taken as a matter of District of Columbia policy and were ratified and approved by policy makers of the District of Columbia, including MPD Chief Charles Ramsey and the Office of Corporation Counsel. The raid on the Convergence Center was pretextual, and would not have occurred but for defendants' desire to disrupt plaintiffs' demonstration activities. The raid and refusal to return related materials was timed to cause maximum disruption of the demonstration, and had the purpose and effect of depriving plaintiffs of their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly within the Convergence Center and to create, possess and use the First Amendment protected materials as part of their demonstration activities.

The District of Columbia publicly disseminated false information casting the Mobilization and other plaintiffs as violent. After illegally seizing and searching the Convergence Center, the District of Columbia announced to the media that it had confiscated the makings of pepper spray. The District later conceded that the "pepper spray" was in fact peppers, onions and other vegetables found in a kitchen area and were the makings of gazpacho soup. The District of Columbia announced to the media that it had found a Molotov cocktail inside the Convergence Center. The District later conceded that the "molotov cocktail" was in fact a plastic soda bottle containing rags. After a raid on an activists' residence, the District of Columbia announced that it had confiscated an undisclosed amount of ammunition. The District later conceded that the confiscated item was a Mexican ornament, a string of empty shells. These examples of dissemination of false information by defendants were part of their effort to disrupt plaintiffs, to discredit plaintiffs, to justify defendants' actions in interfering with the demonstrations, and to portray plaintiffs as violent in order to discourage participation in the demonstrations.

On April 15, 2000, several hundred demonstrators, including plaintiffs IAC, Becker, Holmes, Olson assembled without violence at the United States Department of Justice to protest the "Prison Industrial Complex" pursuant to a permit issued to plaintiff International Action Center. After a rally, the demonstrators walked west from the Department of Justice. Police escorted the demonstrators and advised them that they did not need a permit as long as they remained on the sidewalk, which they did. Plaintiff IAC informed the MPD that they wished to walk to Dupont Circle from which location they would disperse. Metropolitan Police Department officials stated that the demonstrators could proceed up 20th Street to Dupont Circle for that purpose. However, as plaintiffs moved up 20th Street, police in riot gear surrounded the procession, preventing movement or dispersal.

Before trapping the procession, the police did not order plaintiffs to disperse. After blocking the procession, the police did not allow plaintiffs to disperse even when individuals asked to be allowed to leave. The police imprisoned the people who had been caught in their trap for approximately one hour. This included not only peaceful protesters, but also journalists displaying press credentials, passers-by who had been attracted by the protesters' message, and unknowing tourists and others who were in the area only by coincidence.

The police then arrested substantially everyone they had caught in their trap, including bystanders, journalists and tourists. More than 600 people were arrested. These arrests - which took place before the IMF - World Bank meetings and protests - were made in order to make it difficult and frightening for the arrested individuals to participate in the demonstrations in the following two days, and to discourage others from participating in or observing those demonstrations by signaling to them that they were likely to be arrested even if they did not break the law.

The arrestees were held in harsh conditions. They were restrained in plastic handcuffs that inflicted pain, discomfort and distress. Arrestees were confined on buses and denied food and water, in some cases for as long as 18 hours or more. Arrestees were denied use of a bathroom for hours, causing discomfort and humiliation. Arrestees were denied use of lawfully dispensed prescription medications for pre-existing conditions. Arrestees were denied use of a telephone to contact family members or attorneys.

Metropolitan Police Department officers deliberately misinformed arrestees of their rights, falsely stating that they would be detained, in some instances for days, unless they posted and forfeited fifty dollars. Defendants did not advise plaintiffs of the option to post fifty dollars and appear at a hearing to contest the arrest. As a result, arrestees may not be deemed to have knowingly waived any rights when they posted and forfeited.

Defendants created and maintained an enormous Exclusion Zone that insulated the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund from protest, and prevented demonstrators from having their political expressions be heard and seen by those within those buildings. The Exclusion Zone encompassed at least fifty blocks and included Lafayette Park, parts of Pennsylvania Avenue, and other park land, streets and sidewalks in downtown Washington, DC This zone was maintained until the night of April 17, 2000, after the demonstrations had ended. No demonstrators were permitted to enter the Exclusion Zone. The only persons allowed to enter the zone were persons who had been approved by the IMF and World Bank, certain media, and area employees and residents with identification.

There was no lawful justification for the creation and maintenance of this Exclusion Zone. Defendants had no reasonable basis to expect violence against any person, and the defendants had adequate personnel and equipment on hand to permit the demonstrators to bring their protest within sight and sound of their intended audience, while still protecting the safety of persons and property and assuring that the IMF - World Bank meetings could proceed.

LAWYERS
Arthur B. Spitzer, ACLU 202/457-0800
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard 202/530-5630
Jonathan Moore, National Lawyers Guild , 212/614-6432
James R. Klimaski, 202/296-5600
Daniel M. Schember, 202/328-2244

APRIL 2000

damage report

-- 150% more arrests than in Seattle: 1300 v. 525

-- police illegally shut down demonstrators' HQ

-- two universities ban public forums, events, student guests

-- Print shops intimated by police into closing

-- illegal sweep arrest traps 600

-- homes of protesters broken into and ransacked.

-- demonstrators visited by police and threatened with arrest

-- attacks on media included one Washington Post photgrapher arrested and held for six hours, another hit with pepper spray, one AP reporter clubbed by officers, and another knocked out in a melee, although by whom is not known.

shut down

over 100 square blocks closed by police

Downtown print shops close after police intimidation

Metro closes three key subway stops

A seven-day a week beauty salon closes for the duration.

The Virginia Department of Transportation closes HOV lanes into the city for possible use by law enforcement and military troops.

Federal workers are told they can stay home if they don't feel safe.

State Department closes its passport office.

Metrobuses are rerouted.

The Diplomatic Ball is postponed.

A 12-story construction job comes to a halt.

A nearby settlement company makes copies of all transactions this year.

Reservations at Primi Patti restaurant are down 40%

George Washington University closes for the weekend, canceling events, banning overnight visitors, and locking the library doors.

Panic at American University as well, though some miles from the protest scene, as officials cancel a debate on the World Bank and IMF

Pepco, the local electric utility, sends 1,100 workers home.

Kaiser Permanente closes its eight-story West End clinic

Howard Osterman, a podiatrist, in the 1700 block of I Street NW, is closing Monday, a day that he had 30 appointments scheduled. "I love working in D.C., and this goes with the territory: demonstrations and free speech," he said. "It is part of the charm of working in the District."

EXCLUSIVE: BUS SCHEDULES FROM THE BLUE PLAINS GULAG

PROTEST NEWS

APRIl 18

DOWN THE MEMORY HOLE
WITH THE WASHINGTON POST

On September 22, 1997, Shirley Allen's brother, accompanied by a local sheriff, arrived at the door of her Roby, IL home to take her to a hospital for a mental evaluation. According to the brother, Byron Dugger, Allen had become depressed, paranoiac, and delusional since her husband died in 1989. Allen met the pair with a 12-guage shotgun and insisted that Dugger was not her brother.

There then began a 39-day stand-off during which, according to Lois Romano in the Washington Post, "state police officials tried to lure out Allen with tactics reminiscent of the government's botched assault in 1993 on a religious compound near Waco, Tex. -- they cut off her electricity and water, tossed in a tear-gas grenade, pelted her with bean bag bullets and blared Barry Manilow at all hours.

"Allen shot at the police twice, and her plight became a rallying point for national anti-government activists who charged that Allen's rights were being violated. The national media descended on the tiny farming village of Roby. Police estimated that the siege cost taxpayers upwards of $20,000 a day -- or about half a million dollars.

Among the techniques: police "threw canisters of pepper spray into the house and sent in a police dog carrying a listening device. Allen shot the dog through the nose."

She eventually came out on her porch, was captured and taken to a hospital. The donnybrook had cost the state police twice as much as providing protection for the Democratic National Convention the previous year.

In an earlier article, Romano recounted some of the reaction:

"Neighbors and outside observers question whether the police actions, designed to coax Allen out in her depressed state, might instead push her over the edge.
'The tactics are awful,' said John Snyder, a psychology professor at Southern Illinois University and a crisis-intervention expert. 'If she was paranoid before, she has a real reason to be paranoid now. You think people are out to get you, then you find out they really are. Whatever may have been wrong with her before is going to be more wrong now. They need to send in a mental health care professional -- not more police.'

"Don Jackson, the local talk show host who has taken up Allen's cause, said 99 percent of his callers are sympathetic to Allen. 'Many of these women say that at one time or another, they have done something that may have affected their ability to make a decision -- but should it come to this?"

"Letters to the editor of the local paper, too, are running in Allen's favor. 'The state police need to realize the difference between a criminal and a depressed, lonely lady,' wrote Hope Stephenson of Springfield. 'I'm curious to know what proof was submitted to verify and substantiate Ms. Allen's mental state . . . ' wrote Anne Piani. 'Why not first a more dignified notice to appear in court to challenge those who made the alleged charges?'"

A month and a half later, the State Journal Register reported: "A hearing was held in the Christian County Circuit Court on December 16,1997, in the case of Shirley Allen. At that hearing, a report was received from Dr. Bruce A. Feldman, a psychiatrist associated with the Christian County Mental Health Center, stating that Ms. Allen does not present a danger to herself or anyone else at this time and, therefore should not be committed. Based upon Dr. Feldman's report and Illinois law which provides for a person to remain at his residence pending an examination and hearing, Ms. Allen's attorneys, Lindsey E. Reese and William Conroy, requested that she be released during the pendency of the case.
This request was granted without objection and Ms. Allen has been released from McFarland Mental Health Center as of noon." The Post reported the story as well.

Almost precisely 5 months later, the Washington Post reported that DC's police chief, Charles Ramsey (a former Chicago deputy police commissioner) planned to hire the director of the Illinois State Police as his assistant police chief. There was no mention, however, of Terrance Gainer's leading role in what the Post itself had described only months earlier as "reminiscent of the government's botched assault" on Waco. Nor was the incident mentioned in the paper's pro-police hype concerning the recent Washington demonstrations. Nor has the Post explained why a former director of the Illinois State Police suddenly ended up working as a deputy to a police chief overseeing a city that is only 4% as large as Illinois. It's all just gone down the memory hole.

APRIL 17

7:04 PM

WTOP: A weekend of tension and some high drama has come to a (mostly) peaceful conclusion on the streets of downtown Washington DC. Under a deal reached with top police officials, numerous protestors were allowed through police barricades. They made it a few steps then were promptly arrested, with officers slapping plastic handcuffs on them and leading them off to waiting buses. . . Police Chief Charles Ramsey says there were an estimated 600 arrests today, including 400 at the demonstration at 20th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Since the start of demonstrations, police arrested over 1,300 people in all, according to Chief Ramsey.

ARRESTED

AUGUSTA GILMAN, INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER: We were not told until we entered the prison what charges were being made against us. The officers who cuffed us and led us onto the buses claimed they did not actually know what the charges were. Nor did the officers who guarded us for three hours on the buses. The commanding officer on my bus, who did not wear a nametag or badge, told us that the way the system was supposed to work was that if we believed we were being held against our rights, we could straighten that out in a lawsuit after our trial.

People on the buses with medical conditions were denied relief for hours. We were not read our rights, and were denied the possibility of speaking to a lawyer. When I was finally allowed my phone call, I was told that it could not last more than thirty seconds. There were too many people in line. I felt like a pig on its way to sausage, not a citizen on her way through the judicial system.

I watched as a man filled out the forms charging me with "parading without a permit." He filled out the form as if he was the officer who had arrested me, signing the name of a different officer, the one who had been photographed with me as I was let off the bus. I could not tell you which officer arrested me. A different officer bound my hands with the zip-ties, watched me on the bus, walked me into the office, frisked me vigorously, and filled out my forms. The forms stated that I was being arrested for participation in a protest of the IMF and World Bank.

I don’t know who was luckier, those of us who were actually taken into the holding cells or those who were left on the buses all night. The cells only held some eighty detainees – forty women and I presume a similar amount in the cell next door. All of us had the zip-ties behind our backs severed, but one handcuff was left intact and attached with another tie to the opposite leg.

We were fed donuts and "fruit punch flavored drink" which boasted 0% juice content. Most people ignored the bologna sandwiches the staff, some of whom wore jackets reading "POSTAL SERVICE POLICE," handed out. At three a.m. the men roared us awake with a chant of "WA-TER! WA-TER!", sounding like a den of landlocked pirates. The water from the tap was brown and unpotable. . .

As dawn broke handfuls of activists who had managed to post bail were led out of the building onto different nearby streetcorners. Police stood nearby. There was a rumor they were prepared to cause trouble for any group of people larger than eight. As of the time I left, there were still arrests left to process. Three buses still waited by the courthouse curb, their inhabitants just as far from food, bathrooms, and lawyers as we had been before we were incarcerated.

The sun was inching onto the horizon. A treeful of birds was burbling to itself by the courthouse. Somewhere in the city thousands of demonstrators were preparing to throw themselves into the fray the way the prison protesters had the day before. I wondered, as I left the site, whether the city planned to "process" them all in the same way.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER

IN THE HOOD

SUSAN OUSLEY, CO-DIRECTOR, NY AVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH COMMUNITY CLUB: Sunday morning, we emerged from services at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (14th & NY) to find the intersection filled with news boxes, construction equipment, and building materials tangled into a mass. Brand-new trash cans & pieces of sidewalk had been ripped up and dumped on top.

What to do? In one hour, there was to be a memorial service for beloved 85-year-old Lee Hogenson, who knew the name and story of every down-and-out person from our nearby streets. How would her frailer friends navigate the mess?

In Sunday attire, we started clearing up. We explained our concerns to those who asked, offered coffee in the room where Lee usually could be found -- singing gospel and talking with our street friends. Some of those friends came to help. Most demonstrators, when they listened to us, apologized profusely. Some helped us clear. While we did, we told them how hard we've tried to bring back our corner of the city. We talked about Jubilee 2000 (debt restructuring) and Taxation without representation. The construction foreman sheepishly acknowledged his own antics here 30 years ago. A police officer admitted some, too.

I wondered how many opportunities we miss each week to invite DC visitors to know us -- and to understand that this is a real town with real residents -- and no democratic rights. How wonderful it is that so many young people are struggling to do something for people other than themselves. I hope we do not crush their spirits by telling them what perfect little revolutionaries we were "in the old days."

THE STORY THUS FAR. . .

Everyone has got what they wanted. The demonstrators were able to shut down a city; the IMF delegates, with the help of armored vehicles, a million dollars in extra law enforcement equipment, and massive police escorts, were able to have coffee with Lawrence Summers.

That the corporate media and the Clinton administration should be hailing the latter achievement as a major victory illustrates why you don't want these folks running the world's economy -- or anything else.

It also illustrate the sort of place federal Washington is: one in which the closing of stores, offices, and subway stops and the emptying of traffic from 110 square blocks is seen as a triumph of law and order.

It is, in fact, more than an event or an incident. Something important has happened of which the current demonstration is only the latest example. Even before the stock market bubble broke, the South Sea Bubble of "free market capitalism" was imploding.

Bull artistry ends the same way that bull markets do -- when people stop believing in it. What is taking place in Washington is but an outward and visible sign of a inner, invisible disbelief that has taken root throughout America, manifested in Seattle, Washington, and the anti-sweatshop movement on scores of campuses.

The corporate media, with its deep vested interest in the myth, has been stingy in its coverage of this collapse of gullibility, but that makes no difference. Those men who once connived under the ersatz cover of infallibility now stand as little more than greedy, self-important fools, milling about in their evening clothes on the heeling deck of their "unsinkable" economy.

America has once again changed -- just as it did in the months after the first civil rights sit-ins and following the free speech movement of the 1960s. We have once again done for ourselves what those who professed to lead us refused to do. We have once again become the hope we were looking for. -- Sam Smith

12:33 PM

National Guard troops have joined DC police facing a sitdown at 20th and Pennsylvania . . . There have been some 90 arrests today . . . According to AP, deputy police chief Terrance Gaine says "he and a small group of his officers were attacked by a group of protesters who surrounded a bus with World Bank delegates on 15th. US marshals tried to protect the delegates, and as Gainer and his officers arrived, he says a fist fight broke out. Gainer says he and other officers suffered minor injuries. Gainer says there are fewer protesters today, but those who are out seem angrier . . . Police have blocked off eight blocks (beginning one block from TPR's office) to pedestrian as well as vehicle traffic.

COMPLAINTS FROM NEIGHBORS

"The protesters have defaced our neighborhood with stickers that say things like "The IMF Suck Donkey D***" and "Steal Food," which I have spend considerable time removing from street signs, mail boxes, lamp poles, etc . . . They protested at buildings being renovated by MANNA for low-income residents. They mistook them as buildings being gentrified by evil developers . . . I have been saddened by what I have seen, because I am such a likely ally, having participated in my fair share of protests during and after college. But we never defaced property, and we always understood what we were protesting."

"My wife also witnessed several of them remove the tractor tire flower planter from the Metro lot, dump the flowers out, and proceed to roll each other down 13th Street in it. I even caught one using the vacant lot next door as a toilet. I can just imagine what longtime Shaw residents are thinking: more clueless suburban white folk messing up the neighborhood. Not exactly the best message to leave the city that's hosting their protest. Still, at least one of the premises for closing the convergence center is highly suspect: molotov cocktails are supposed to break on impact. Last time I checked, plastic liter bottles of Coke have this tendency to bounce."

9:42 AM

WTOP: A huge police presence this morning on 'K' Street between Connecticut and 18th Streets, after trouble broke out around 8:30.Police had sprayed some unruly protesters at 18th and 'I' with what is believed to be tear gas.At least 15 demonstrators were arrested.Police are in the middle of 'K' and reinforcements are arriving. Police are ordering people out of the street and onto the sidewalk.'K' Street is completely blocked, with police cruisers in the middle of the road.

WTOP NEWS LIVE

COPS REJECT TULIPS

JASON VEST, SPEAK OUT: Although the scene was hardly comparable to last year's riotous Seattle melee, in several cases police and protesters alike dispensed with restraint and rhetoric, instead opting for bottles, blows and batons. At about 10 a.m. Sunday, a large procession of protesters with black-clad anarchists at their vanguard strode up 14th Street NW, bearing -- in addition to placards and puppets -- fencing and other construction material, some apparently taken from a nearby construction site. As the procession neared the intersection of 14th and I streets, dozens of Metropolitan Police Department officers in squad cars and on motorcycles tore down 14th from the opposite direction.

As both forces approached each other, each began to surge; upon reaching the southeast corner of 14th and I, some protesters picked up and kicked or hurled two newspaper boxes. Police entered the intersection and for a moment time seemed to stop; but quickly the police continued to aggressively advance in the face of angry rebukes from demonstrators, at least one of whom hurled a small object at the officers . . .

[In one incident] police fired irritant gas into the crowd. While Police Chief Ramsey said "smoke dragons," a sort of tear gas light, was used, all touched by it showed signs that it hurt like hell . . . Protesters with gas masks were remarkably quick about getting them on; those with only vinegar-soaked bandanas secured them over their faces but hotfooted it back from the expanding cloud of gas as police -- save a few skirmishing stragglers-fell back to the middle of 14th St. and formed a static line . . .

Protest medics quickly deployed and tended to the baton or gas-afflicted. The anarchists seethed. Then several women in red t-shirts came right up to the police line and began chanting, "To the police, we come in peace. To the banks, we say no thanks." Others began to gently shower the gas-mask visaged police with recently uprooted tulips, most of which were hostilely batted away by officers as their commander walked behind them encouraging them to "stand fast, stand fast."

. . . A red-haired young woman actually began presenting each of the officers with tulips, most of which were angrily pushed away with batons. Then Ananda Daas, a 19 year old man from Humboldt County, California, took a small American flag and laid it on the ground, adorning it with tulip pedals.

SPEAK OUT

FUN FACT

According to the DC police's own figures, it took one highly trained, highly armed officer to handle 2.86 unarmed and unskilled demonstrators.

APRIL 16

DID SEATTLE POLICE
POISON DEMONSTRATORS?

CHARLIE SMITH, GEORGIA STRAIGHT: The Council of Canadians arranged transportation to the WTO meetings for 41 busloads of activists, many of whom were tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed. Countless members of the media also got caught up in the melee. They might be interested to know that the Seattle police department used a type of tear gas not sold to Canadian police forces. Recently, the Washington Toxics Coalition obtained the "Material Safety Data Sheets" from the Seattle police department for all chemicals used in crowd control. The coalition's executive director, Carol Dansereau, told the Straight that one type of tear gas used in Seattle, liquid agent CN (commonly known as mace), is 50 percent active ingredient (chlorolactetophenone) and 50 percent methylene chloride, a common ingredient in paint strippers and varnish removers. "It's a really nasty chemical," Dansereau said. According to the U.S. National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, she said, methylene chloride is listed as a "possible/anticipated carcinogen".

Dansereau sent an e-mail to a long list of recipients, stating: "Symptoms of over-exposure to methylene chloride include central nervous system depression, temporary neurobehavioral effects, spontaneous abortions, upper respiratory tract irritation, dullness, mental confusion, staggering, liver damage, accoustical [sic] and optical delusions, corneal injury, kidney damage, lung damage, tingling of limbs, and other problems."

. . . Dr. Kirk Murphy, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA medical school, was part of the medical collective that treated people at the protests. Murphy, a member of the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, told the Straight that he has since compiled anecdotal reports from more than 200 people who reported either neuralgic symptoms or disruptions of their menstrual cycles after being exposed to chemical agents, as well as "a couple of reports of what would appear to be spontaneous abortions."

"What we saw in Seattle was the uncontrolled use of chemical-warfare agents against civilians," Murphy said. "There is a pernicious silence almost a psychotic amount of denial about the discharge of chemical weapons against our own civilian populace, who, after all, were assembled to try and advance their petition for the redress of grievances."

. . . He said some people had gastrointestinal disturbances for weeks following the exposure. Some reported sustained muscle-twitching, tingling, or numbness in exposed areas, and sometimes in areas not directly exposed. In most cases, these symptoms decreased within a few days to a few weeks following the protests.

1:48 PM

REUTERS: [Chief Ramsey said] that the police had arrested 637 on Saturday -- a figure that already dwarfs the 525 arrested in a week of similar protests last year in Seattle. . .Body-armored police used batons "liberally," a witness said, as they clashed with about 500 protesters at one point before they reestablished the security fence that had been set up to keep the protesters away from the meetings. . . .In another incident, protesters surrounded a minibus full of delegates wearing business suits who were trying to get into the meetings. . . After about 20 minutes, a squad of riot police, backed up by a dozen mounted police, dragged the protesters away from the minibus, throwing them to the ground and beating those who had sat on the ground in front of the minibus. . . Some fund staff spent the night in the building, and many delegates arrived at dawn before the crowds gathered.

IF IT SEEMS SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR. . .

Illegal sweep arrests. Print shops intimidated into closing by police. Universities canceling public forums under pressure from officials. Homes of opposition leader' broken into and ransacked. Headquarters of the opposition raided and closed by police.

These were the sort of things by which we defined the evil of the old Soviet Union. These were some of the reasons we said we had to bomb Yugoslavia. And now they have become characteristics of the federal government's handling of the current protests.

MAYOR WILLIAMS

Though everybody speaks of the 'local' or 'Washington' police, the MPD as well as every other DC agency is under the ultimately plenary control of the White House in such matters as demonstrations. Everybody knows it; they just pretend otherwise. The mayor, though elected, is in fact a colonial aparatchik who would have made an excellent Indian civil servant under the British raj. Hailed as a financial manager,Mayor Anthony Williams has slashed funds in such a way that some sixty percent of the cuts fell on the backs of the poor. When he fired people, some 20-year workers were told to get their stuff and leave within five minutes while under the watch of security aides. He dismantled the University of DC including a massive cut in faculty, destruction of the athletic program, and elimination of normal university services. he oversaw the sale and permanent loss of the city's publicly owned radio station (to C-SPAN). He slashed number of public health workers, the public library and recreation department budgets, as well as funds for day care centers, welfare recipients, homeless shelters, and youth programs.

Mayor Williams is also a leading boosters of policies -- such as tax credits for white gentrifiers and crackdowns on slumlords without provision for the tenants -- that are contributing to the socio-economic cleansing of the city.

Williams is, in fact, just the sort of man the World Bank or IMF would like to hire. He's also the sort of man who, when meeting with the city council the other day, didn't tell them that the person in the back of the room taking notes was a Washington Post reporter doing a profile of him. The sort of guy who would gladly approve a phony fire inspection of demonstration headquarters to make the cops and and his federal overseers happy.

On top of all that, this man -- sold to DC voters as a paragon of fiscal and managerial excellence -- has produced bigger potholes and longer motor vehicle inspection lines than happened under Marion Barry even on days when he was drunk, mainlining, and having sex all at the same time.

Don't expect to much wisdom from city hall on this one.

1:00 PM

WTOP-AM: People inside the World Bank and IMF buildings have been told they must stay inside the building. . . At one point, all of the police put on gas masks. The crowd took offense and started chanting. Moments later, Police Chief Ramsey arrived and presumably ordered the removal of the masks. Since then, Ramsey has been patrolling up and down the police line and talking to protesters saying, "Peace, no violence." Chief Ramsey clearly doesn't want this to escalate. He admits he's "nervous" but says, "everything is fine." When protesters saw him, they broke out in a spontaneous chant of "join us chief!"

WTOP NEWS LIVE

12:34 PM

ROVING GROUPS OF PROTESTERS are closing down streets in downtown Washington, as police resort to clubbings and pepper spray in reaction. . . .Two homes used as gathering places for activists have been broken into and ransacked. . . Many IMF delegates got to their conference by arriving before dawn. . .Police beat and dragged nonviolent protesters on Pennsylvania Ave., including a wire service reporter who required medical attention.

WTOP-AM WASHINGTON: IMF/World Bank Protest Turns Rowdy
Police use tear gas, pepper spray Police in riot gear had to use pepper spray to deal with protesters who broke through barriers at 15th and 'G' streets northwest. Witnesses say protesters leaped off the sidewalk, shoving metal barricades into the street. Police were finally able to move them back. Some demonstrators also took down the fences from construction sites, and removed some of the light equipment, as police in riot gear looked on. Meanwhile, mounted Park Police are using their horses to push protesters back at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, just a block away from the White House.

D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey says an estimated 6,000-10,000 protesters are currently within the city. . . Most police departments around the Washington area have cancelled leave and put officers on standby in case suburban police are needed in the District to handle demonstrations or other trouble. Some officers have already been assigned to work in the city under the command of D.C. police supervisors. . . Virginia State Police are on standby to move in rapidly if needed, and part of that plan is to set aside the Shirley Highway car pool lanes for their use.

WTOP NEWS LIVE

* * * * *

QUOTES

LEGAL OBSERVER KATYA KOMISARUK: The police are trying to intimidate and conduct preemptive strikes to disrupt the organization.

DC ACTIVIST JOHN STEINBACH [who has witnessed more protests and arrests than most DC cops]: The police are driving down attendance at the permitted -- the legal -- rally perhaps. The risks of real violence are escalating and its all on the shoulders of the cops.

DC POLICE OFFICER TO METRO BUS DRIVER FERRYING WB/IMF DELEGATES CONCERNING PROTESTERS (According to Rev. Douglas Hunt of Witness for Peace]: Back over them if you have to.

PRINT SHOPS CLOSE AFTER POLICE PRESSURE

TROY SKEELS, INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER: As we are attempting to go to press with the "Blind Spot," IMC's print publication due to hit the streets tomorrow, we are confronting a serious technical difficulty: Citing "riot activity" the Kinkos print shops in the area are either closed already or thinking about it.

I learned about this turn of events this afternoon as I and some people I was trading literature with were asked to leave a Kinkos near the White House. The employee at the Kinkos we were at was polite as he asked us to leave, but explained that our presence was putting his shop in danger of being closed. Continuing our discussion on the sidewalk, I learned that other Kinkos had already been closed at police direction.

Philip, from Oberlin College, Ohio, sporting a box of freshly printed pamphlets told me that he had left one Kinkos (24th and K street) that closed after police came in and harassed people printing up pro-demonstration, or simply anti-IMF literature. There was of course, no riot activity in sight.

At least three Kinkos have already closed. It remains unclear how long the other popular "24 hour" printing outlets will remain open.

TROY SKEELS

SWEEP ARRESTS WITHOUT WARNINGS

AP: [Chief]Ramsey said authorities would get the protesters loaded, transported and processed at two locations in the city. How long they remain in custody would depend, in part, on how cooperative they are, he said. Those who provide identification will be fined $50, Ramsey said. Those who don't will be fined $300. "We have a right to be here and we also have a right to protest and we also have a right to walk away," said protester Larry Holmes, complaining that police had penned demonstrators in a barricaded area to arrest them. Protesters complained that there was no warning before arrests began, but Ramsey said they were warned to get back on the sidewalks when they began to swarm into the street. "Maybe you didn't hear it with all the people, but we did give a warning," Ramsey told reporters at the scene.

NEW YORK TIMES: Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said later that the crowd had refused police order to disperse. Reported who had observed the march had not heard any such order.

WASHINGTON POST: Protesters and even tourists who witnessed the event said not only did police fail to order people to disperse but they also prevent those who wanted to leave from doing so.

DEPUTY CHIEF TERRANCE GAINER [after his officers had arrested and held for six hours a Washington Post photographer]: To the extent we arrested a person that shouldn't been, I apologize.

APRIL 15

11:47 PM

JASON VEST, IN THESE TIMES NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "The fire department's rationale [for closing demonstration HQ] is about as convincing as Idi Amin's claim that Archbishop Luwum had died in a car crash after Amin had in fact shot Luwum in the head," said Hussein Ibish, communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who, despite his absence from the scene, nonetheless expresses solidarity with the Mobilization. Indeed, the pretext was so ridiculous that even all the cops didn't buy it. One police officer, when asked about the impending threats to safety personal and public posed by the building of paper-mache puppet-making materials, looked vaguely chagrined and rolled his eyes.

Kalee Kreider, an environmental activist who lives several blocks away, seemed amused that alleged fire code violations would suddenly draw so many police officers to this marginal neighborhood known for moderate drug traffic and unsolved homicides. Jenny Salan, a DC citizen who lives several blocks from the Convergence Center and was not planning on taking part in the Sunday demonstration, said she was so disgusted by the selectiveness of the Florida Avenue action that she's throwing her lot in with the protesters.

"I know my own building isn't up to fire code-when the cops came in after we'd had a burglary, they said that to the owner, and we never saw the fire marshal," she said.

"They could go right into any building any day right around here and find fire code violations," echoed National Lawyers Guild member Jim Drew, who said that in his 30 years of practicing law in DC, such a raid was is unprecedented. However, veteran activist John Stauber of Madison, Wisconsin, said he wasn't exactly surprised. "This was a pre-emptive, decapitating strike," he said, grudgingly praising the authorities for their tactical prowess.

JASON VEST

NEIGHBORHOOD REAX

SCOTT POMEROY IN A NEIGHBORHOOD ONLINE NEWSLETTER: The protestors have been using the Manhattan Laundry Building as a staging headquarters where people go to find housing, training, and where to go next. While there they have assisted the Booker T. Washington Charter School programs. They aided in cleaning and gutting a local abandoned building. They are patronizing our local businesses. Why are we treating them as criminals when they aren't committing crimes?

I understand the need to protect the city from the possibility of property damage, similar to what happened in Seattle. That is why I and local officials have been actively meeting with and integrating the protestors into participating locally and assisting the residents at a grass roots level. Trying to educate ourselves about one another's missions and how to help each other. Because of the police action today we now have thousands of people wandering aimlessly around the streets, who are now wet, cold and upset.

I am pleased to see that the police are going to be enforcing the fire code violations in the city now. I expect to see them tonight on U Street inside one of the clubs that routinely packs in crowds that far exceed their maximum occupancies. Can you picture 60 officers marching in and ordering everyone out of one of these clubs.

 

 

 

HERBERT SAMPLE, A SHAW RESIDENT: It is bemusing and agonizing at the same time to see a police force that can't seem to get its act together to stop crime, that is understaffed and underequipped, that takes its time when DC citizens call, can nonetheless roll out in force to stop training sessions designed to teach protesters how to do so legally and nonviolently. Where are all these cops the rest of the year when we need them?

2:57PM

GILLIAN ANDREWS & JOHN TARLETON, INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER: DC police and fire department officials shut down the convergence center at 1328 Florida Ave. this morning. Plainclothes fire officials entered the center around 8:30 on a preliminary investigation, just as protesters were finishing breakfast and preparing for nonviolence training. Protesters escorted the officials in as required by law. Eyewitnesses said it appeared that officials did not know of fire hazards before they entered the building.

Officers from the city's police Emergency Response Team followed soon after. When they were asked if they had a search warrant, they did not respond. Patricia Whitewater, an organizer with Mobilization for Global Justice, was inside the convergence center when the authorities arrived. She suggested that police presence was prearranged, not simply a response to the fire department's request for aid. "It was clearly a coordinated action," she said.

Peter Lumsdaine of the California-based Resource Center for Nonviolence was inside the building helping to prepare an agenda for the afternoon's spokescouncil. He said the fire marshal made no attempt to work with organizers. . .

Crowds of late-arriving activists who gathered outside the building were pushed back to the corner of fourteenth and Florida by a wall of police. They quietly milled around in the intersection, failing to live up to their violent reputation. Some asked police for their names and missing badge numbers.

Refugees from the Convergence Center slowly straggled out of the building, allowed to take only what they could carry in their hands. Many puppets were left behind. The Seeds of Peace bus was impounded with much of the kitchen equipment still inside. Thirty to forty bicycles assembled from scrounged-up parts were confiscated for lack of registration, according to William Thomas, a peace activist who had helped to gather the parts.

The protesters weren't the only ones banned from crossing the police line. Legal observers were stopped from re-entering the block. Press corps members from the Canadian press, Harper's Magazine, and other publications were denied access to the press conference which was held behind police lines. One Canadian reporter planted herself in front of the police lines and began to chant, "I am the press! I am the press!" Other reporters picked up the cry. Police lines only parted for the local ABC affiliate, Associated Press, and other journalists with government-issued press passes.

DC Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance Gainer alleged that the raid was a response to complaints about the building. Gainer said that the fire marshal alleged that stairways and exits in the building were blocked and that the electrical system of the building was jerry-rigged. Gainer also said that a plastic bottle with a rag in it was spotted, and that the bomb squad was being brought in. As of press time, the fire department was still continuing its inspection. . .

Nadine Bloch, one of the key organizers of the mobilization, announced at 10:30 a.m. that the convergence was relocating to the Wilson Center at 15th St. and Irving. She urged people not to be distracted. "This isn't much, compared to repression around the world," she said. "These guys are clearly trying to throw us off. We have a lot of work to do."

Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange arrived soon after the protesters had been forced into the street. She expressed a feeling of betrayal, saying the cops were working against their agreement to cooperate to let protesters exercise their First Amendment rights. "There was no good legal reason to close this down," she said. "They're escalating the tensions, which they said they wouldn't do. I think the police [made] a really dumb move, because it changes the whole tone of things."

The Midnight Special Legal Collective was trying to open up negotiations with the police. As of 11 a.m., there was still no word about whether the puppets had been released from custody.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER

POLICE RAID, CLOSE DEMONSTRATION HQ

Although a well-known tactic in more authoritarian states, the DC police have closed down for what we believe to be the first time in history the headquarters of a major Washington demonstration. This extraordinary and highly provocative act came after fire officials of the local colonial government declared the building on Florida Avenue to be unsafe. Yesterday, the police also raided a home and seized equipment to be used in demonstrations.

The unprecedented action by the government of the atypically silent Mayor Anthony Williams is likely to increase substantially tensions between the police and the activists. One might even call it an incendiary act. It remains unclear, however, whether the police are deliberately trying to provoke the demonstrators.

Historical note: The DC government long operated out of a building at 14th & Pennsylvania known to be a fire hazard. It did not move until alternative accommodations were found. Police headquarters probably wouldn't pass fire inspection either.

Jay Sand, DC coordinator of the Independent Media Center, was attending a meeting when firemen interrupted and brought in police to clear people from the building. Reports from media teams inside the center claim that the firemen were wearing ATF badges. Firemen said that if IMF/World Bank critics didn't immediately evacuate, they would be forced to call police. Police were in fact standing by. Sand said, at the time of a phone call to the IMC at 9:20 AM on Saturday, that police were barricading activists inside the alleged fire trap. IMC sources noted that the police were not wearing identification of any kind.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER

WOLFENSOHN GREETED

Twenty demonstrators greeted World Bank president James Wolfensohn at his home and gave him a letter of protest. There were no arrests.

POLICE OFFICIAL ATTENDS NADER RALLY

Assistant DC police chief Terry Gainer was an unexpected visitor at a kick-off fund raiser for the Ralph Nader campaign at Luna Grill on Connecticut Avenue, just five blocks from the World Bank. Luna is located near the tip of a flat-iron building at the triangular corner of 18th & Connecticut. The overflow crowd spilled out onto both streets. Gainer, prowling the city in a squad car, got out and gently pointed out to Nader and owner Andy Shallal various city laws about sidewalks, including drinking on them and blocking them. After being assured by Shallal that drinkers would be kept on the patio, crime-fighter Gainer left the scene.

SHIT HAPPENS

BLOOMBERG NEWS: A block from the White House, several dozen protesters demonstrated against the Pentagon's missile defense program. They chanted, passed out leaflets and carried signs. Farther down the avenue, the pile of manure remained for more than an hour before workers loaded it onto a truck and drove it away - with a police escort. Driving a rented dump truck festooned with signs "World Bank: Meat Stinks," a man dressed in a cow costume dumped the manure in front of the World Bank. The truck pulled over to the shoulder of the avenue, which remains open to traffic, and dumped the load just outside security barricades surrounding the bank. Police quickly removed the signs from the truck and arrested the driver and his passenger. The event drew a crowd of passers-by, the smell notwithstanding. The demonstration was staged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in protest against animal research in developing countries.

BLOOMBERG NEWS

APRIL 14

SEATTLE COPS WANT SPY POWERS BACK

SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Police Department, with the support of Mayor Paul Schell, wants to streamline - and perhaps repeal - a law that limits when and how police can gather information on organizations and individuals. The impetus behind the decision to review the city's unique intelligence law is last fall's World Trade Organization conference. In its self-critical analysis, released this week, the department claims the law "created significant problems" for WTO security planners and later "delayed the gathering and sharing" of intelligence information about anarchists and protesters . . . But the civilian auditor who oversees the department's compliance with the law sees no reason it should have hampered police during the WTO conference. And civil libertarians believe the Seattle Police Department is using the WTO as a red herring to attack the law. "This is an attempt to roll back an important protection for the citizens of Seattle using the problems of WTO as a cover," said Doug Honig, the education director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington . . . The ordinance was passed after a public outcry over police keeping political files on citizens and groups involved here in the political activism of the 1960s and '70s. It prohibits gathering any information - outside of a criminal investigation - on anyone exercising free-speech rights or solely because of someone's political or religious beliefs . . . Before police can gather information on anyone the law protects, they must have a "reasonable suspicion" that a person or group has or will commit a crime. Someone of the rank of captain or above must approve an investigation.

SEATTLE TIMES

IMF SMALL MEDIA BLACKOUT

JASON VEST, THE PULSE: The importance of the different perspectives alternative media bring to bear became clear in the coverage given to last year's "Battle in Seattle" World Trade Organization meeting. Few members of the mainstream media initially attached much significance to grassroots opposition to the WTO. Once a handful of rogue protesters started smashing a Starbucks, those media began paying more attention to the opposition, but seemingly with an eye towards marginalizing it. Rather than respectfully examining the years of organizing and scholarship done by protest leaders like of Walden Bello, Vandana Shiva, Lori Wallach, John Cavanagh and scores of others, mainstream headlines and pundits let fly terms such as "kooky crowd," "motley crew of protesters," "one-world paranoids," and, of course, "Luddites." Several community radio stations have been shut out of this week's meetings, as well as reporters from alternative weekly papers, both foreign and domestic. None have been given good reasons -- or any reasons at all -- for the refusals. (IMF staff did not return calls from SpeakOut.)

EARLIER STORY ON IMF MEDIA POLICY
THE PULSE

STEELWORKERS WELCOME STUDENTS

Proving once again that history seldom acts the way it's meant to, one of the most dramatic demonstrations of recent Washington history took place this morning with only one cop and a handful of media in attendance -- as 700 steelworkers gave a warm standing ovation to the student activists in their midst.

From the generational schisms of the 1960s to the hard-hatted Reagan-Democrat antipathies of the 1980s, it has become widely assumed that students and union members are the Serbs and Albanians of American politics. But the sweatshops abroad and the neo-robber barons at home have taken care of that -- to the point that a burly George Becker, International President of the Steelworkers could stand before his members and declare, "These are my sons and granddaughters. This is my family." And the members applauded.

"Every generation has to reestablish itself," said Becker, head of a union that not only organizes steel and aluminum workers, but those in rubber, mining and the chemical industries. The students had been invited to a panel discussion in which young and old activists could talk with each other. Included were veterans of more than 50 campaigns dealing with sweatshop and campus labor issues -- over 30 of them already successful in an explosion of college protest still downplayed by corporate media.

One of the students, junior Negin Almassi of Purdue, which had once crushed a fledgling anti-apartheid movement, said she was there because her classmates who had engaged in a successful hunger and sleep strike hadn't yet recovered from their ordeal. Their protest had been aided by steelworkers who bombarded the university president with calls, in one case lining up at a payphone to dial him, one after another.

Support on campus wasn't universal, however. Some fraternity members brought grills to the protest area to taunt those fasting, but the protesters responded by hugging the frat boys. Said Almassi, "they weren't very good grillers."

One speaker described the college activism as the first student movement to protect workers' rights. And it's not over. Among planned actions: support for 1.5 million women in Bangladesh who work in sweatshops over 100 hours a week and whose leaders have asked for help in obtaining a single day off each week.

Becker pulled few punches. Alluding to the president and his party, he said, "I'm not afraid of my enemies. It's our friends that does us in, it's our friends who betray us." He attacked the World Trade Organization as having working standards so low it would have allowed Nazi Germany to join.

Still, he added, "I can oppose the president and not go to prison, be beaten, or be killed . . . .so far." Each generation must engage in these struggles "over and over and over. Each generation is tested again and again on its resolve." As for the generation of students represented in the hall, he remarked, "We know that when we pass the mantle, it will be in good hands."

DID STARBUCKS NICKEL AND DIME?

FROM A SOURCE LONG INVOLVED IN MARKETING FAIR TRADE COFFEE: Unfortunately, I see this as a pretty mixed success. To me, Starbucks basically bought its way out of a protest at the last minute -- protests scheduled for April 13 were canceled, rescuing them from a huge embarrassment and instead turning into an enormous PR opportunity.

The proposed purchase doesn't actually represent such a huge part of Starbuck's volume. We estimate it at less than 1% of the coffee they purchase -- their volume is in coffee served by the cup, not in their packaged coffee, a portion of which they propose to use for fair trade.

Mostly, I am sad because Global Exchange had Starbucks scared and on the ropes, and settled for a measly, near meaningless commitment from this huge, profiteering, marketing machine --- losing all of the momentum and excitement that they had built up around this campaign. Starbucks hasn't even honored the "code of conduct" that they adopted under pressure. When they were pushed to use organic, shade grown coffee, they bought just enough to get huge press, and then didn't purchase any more. It is marketing, funded in part by the low prices that they pay for the rest of their coffee. Not much of a victory. The best hope is that this helps get the word out about fair trade and supports organizations that are truly committed.

APRIL 13

WHO WILL FEED THE HOMELESS?

JV LABEAUME: I work directly across from the World Bank; the small park bound by Penn Ave, and H & 18 Sts., NW where the stage has been set up is directly outside my window.

My concern: In this park each eve, a truck pulls up to feed homeless folks. Will this be obstructed by this protest, and is there anything event organizer have done or can do to ensure that these folks get their meals? Is there anything you can do to spread the word? --

LAWYERS GUILD CHARGES FALSE ARRESTS

The National Lawyers Guild charges that two vehicles carrying seven people on their way to a demonstration organizing meeting last night were pulled over by DC police and were charged with possession of implements of a crime -- namely PVC piping and metal boxes. The Guild also charges that their car was searched with pretext or permission.

The Washington Post reports that the vehicles contained 256 PCV pipes, 45 smaller pipes, 2 rolls of chicken wire, 50 rolls of duct tape, gas masks, bolt cutters, chains, an electrical saw, and lock boxes. The Post also said the Secret Service frisked a demonstrator, showing him a photo that had been taken of him.

In a letter to Attorney General Reno, Karen Jo Koonan, president of the Guild, wrote that the notion that the items being carried were criminal "should send chills through the construction industry. These activists construct signs, puppets, sound stages, and other tools for expressing their political views. They were in fact arrested for possession of implements of First Amendment activity. We have been told by an MPD officer that the FBI directed them to make this arrest."

Added Koonan:

"The Foggy Bottom neighborhood resembles an occupied city. Streets are closed, and public sidewalks are open only to people with acceptable identification. An officer with a video camera sands on the roof of the PEPCO building at all times, and other officers wander the area taking still photographs and video of people in the area, even if they are not attempting to enter the restricted zone. Anyone wearing buttons or carrying signs is given especially close scrutiny. The result is a chill on the expression of political views."

"Despite assurances to the contrary, we are beginning to see an escalation of police tactics similar to the gross violations witnessed in Seattle," said Denis Moynihan of the Mobilization for Global Justice.

Although arresting someone for carry PCV pipes may be extraordinary, arbitrary and capricious traffic stops in DC are not. Two years ago, the Progressive Review reported:

"Research by a NAACP task force uncovered a hidden 57% leap in lock-ups by DC police during a three month period in 1997 compared to a year earlier. It also appears that the police were locking up many more persons for traffic offenses than previously. During the period studied, a stunning 46% of the traffic stops that resulted in arrest or citations also involved lock-ups. Twenty-two percent of all lock-ups stemmed from traffic stops. Annualizing these figures, a DC citizen now has a one in thirteen chance of being locked up over the course of a year. A DC motorist has one chance in thirty-three of being locked up for a traffic violation over the course of the year."

NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD

MEDIA SPIN

NORMAN SOLOMON: When the nation's two biggest news weeklies reported on the demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle a few months ago, the magazines only published fervent pro-WTO commentaries to put it all in perspective. Newsweek's sole opinion piece on the subject came from Fareed Zakaria, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, who decried "a disparate and motley crew of protesters" while bemoaning "the carnival tactics of a small but effective minority." Meanwhile, both of Time's commentaries lauded the WTO and belittled the protesters. Under the headline "Return of the Luddites," Charles Krauthammer mocked what he called the "kooky crowd" protesting in Seattle -- "one-world paranoids"; "apolitical Luddites, who refuse to accept that growth, prosperity and upward living standards always entail some dislocation"; and "the leftover left." Krauthammer's essay was typeset around a photo of union activists protesting the WTO. The caption repeated one of his epithets: "Kooky Crowd."

. . . Last Tuesday, as a warm-up, The Wall Street Journal began its lead editorial with the declaration that protesters "will be bringing their bibs and bottles to the nation's capital this week to have a run at the annual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank." In the next sentence the newspaper labeled the array of expected protesters "a smorgasbord of save-the-turtles activists, anarchists, egalitarians, Luddites and Marxists."

NORMAN SOLOMON

POLICE BULLY ACTIVISTS

JASON VEST, SPEAK OUT: It was around 8 o'clock last Thursday evening when the buzzer rang in activist Adam Eidinger's apartment. Thinking that some of his fellow activists had arrived a bit early for a postering party, Eidinger buzzed the door open and stepped out into the hall . . . The visit was part of an effort by Washington's Metropolitan Police Department to intimidate protest organizers -- even though District of Columbia municipal code makes it clear that their activities aren't criminal. According to Eidinger, the detectives said that "they were monitoring our e-mails," had read one about a "poster night" at his house, and wanted to know "what that was all about."

. . . He was taken aback by what one of the officers, Detective Neil Trugman of the Gang Intelligence Unit, told him, that the postering activities of his group were illegal and must cease immediately, and any further activity would likely be cause for arrest.

. . . According to Fritz Mulhauser, legal program administrator of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Capital Area chapter, the police explanation was at best a stretch. Although commercial posters on lampposts are illegal, Section 108 of Title 24 of DC's municipal regulations protects political postering, with certain caveats.

. . . In 1998, when a number of DC residents mounted a campaign to stop the building of a convention center, their leader, Debbie Hanrahan, received scores of tickets from the DC Department of Public Works for hanging anti-convention center posters. After brandishing Title 24, Section 108, Jim Drew, a longtime Washington attorney, got the city to withdraw the tickets. But the incident was, he says, chilling.

PRIMARY SOURCES
George Washington University memo

Safety Tips for GW Students/Employees During IMF/World Bank Protests
For individuals Who are NOT participating in the protests
1. Avoid areas where protests may be in progress.
2. Schedule activities away from campus. Take a road trip.
3. Do not park you car in the area; parking will be very limited and your vehicle may be inadvertently damaged.
4. Report all suspicious activity to University or Metropolitan police if observed.
5. Report any unauthorized individual found inside GW buildings to the UPD.
6. Take advantage of the TIPS line at UPD.
7. Secure your residence hall room and your valuables inside. Do not leave your door unlocked.
8. Report any and all suspicious packages to UPD.
9. Be prepared to evacuate building at short notice. Travel light.
10. Always travel in groups at night.
11. Carry your GWorld Card on your person at all times!

REASONS TO COME TO DC
Robert Weissmann, Essential Action

Russia in the 1990s has witnessed a peacetime economic contraction of unprecedented scale. Many believe much of the blame for the social and economic catastrophe rests with the IMF, which has had a central role in designing and supervising Russia's economic policy since 1992.

The number of Russians in poverty has risen from 2 million to 60 million since the IMF came to post-Communist Russia. Male life expectancy has dropped sharply from 65 years to 57. Economic output is down by at least 40 percent. The IMF's shock therapy -- sudden and intense structural adjustment -- helped bring about this disaster.

The Asian meltdown was caused in large part by South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia's heavy reliance on short-term foreign loans and openness to hot money -- a reliance that came from following advice proffered by the US Treasury Department, the IMF and other international sources of "expertise." When it became apparent in 1997 that private enterprises in those nations would not be able to meet their payment obligations, international currency markets panicked. Currency traders sought to convert their Asian money into dollars, and the Asian currencies plummeted. That made it harder for the Asian countries to pay their loans, and it made imports suddenly very expensive. There were other underlying causes for the financial crisis, including over-investment in real estate and other speculative and unnecessary ventures, but almost everyone agrees the currency crash and financial disaster were vastly disproportionate to the weaknesses in the Asian economies. Having contributed in important ways to the development of the crisis, the IMF proceeded to make it worse.

FULL TEXT AND STILL MORE REASONS

PREVENTIVE JUSTICE

JASON VEST, PULSE: In all the years he's run the homeless shelter at 11th and M streets in Northwest Washington, Harold Moss has never had the fire marshal show up demanding to inspect the premises. Never, that is, until last week. Moss opened his doors to the Midnight Special Legal Collective, a handful of progressive activist lawyers from Seattle in town for the massive protests against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Suddenly, the fire marshal was interested in going over the place with a fine-tooth comb. "I couldn't prove it one way or another, but in all probability, he showed up because of [the protesters]being here," said Moss, who has managed to stave off the inspector inspection . . . Last Tuesday, Bettie Hoover, the head of the DC chapter of the American Friends Service Committee and a veteran social justice activist, was surprised to learn that two Howard Country police detectives were casing her Maryland farm. "One of my family found these detectives walking around my property," says Hoover, who had listed her farm on the a16 organizing Web site as a camping haven for protesters. "I said, 'Excuse me, who told you to come by,' but they never really did tell me. But they did threaten me with zoning violations if I let people camp. "This guy didn't know diddly -- he didn't know what the regulations were and I did -- and I said to him,' I don't appreciate this harassment.' He said, 'Oh, no, ma'am, we're not harassing you, we're just here to help.'"

THE PULSE

QUESTION AND ANSWER

Right below a Washington Post story about the IMF with the headline -- "Embattled Staffers Wonder 'Why Us?'" -- is another story, this one about Haiti, where an accompanying chart shows the effects of IMF's free market strategies on that country. In 1980 Haiti had a GNP of $600 per capita. By last year it was down to $369.

LANDLORD & TENANT COURT EACH OTHER

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, which never met a government official or program it didn't like (especially when it could take a cut) will be giving James Wolfensohn of the World Bank an honorary degree this year. Which is pretty nice, considering the GW owns some of the World Bank's offices. GW isn't treating its tuition-paying students quite as well, having put the campus in a state of lock-down for the weekend, canceling events, denying visitation rights, and closing buildings, including libraries.

RADICAL GROUP BEATS PROTESTERS TO THE PUNCH

A violence-prone group has seized control of large sections of downtown Washington DC, blocking traffic, incommoding sidewalks, and preventing access to offices, stores, and restaurants. Several days before scheduled major demonstrations, this group had already achieved what the so-called A16 operation had hoped for: to bring business around the World Bank and IMF to a halt. The heavily armed organization has "encouraged" businesses in the area around the two institutions to close for business on Monday, April 17th and has already been successful in shutting down George Washington University over the weekend and causing the local electric utility to send its 1,100 workers home during the protests. Leaders of the A16 movement expressed resentment at discovering their tactics co-opted days before many of their troops could even get to Washington. They identified the splinter organization as the "MPD" -- or Metropolitan Police Department. Said one A16 official, "It isn't fair. It was our idea first."

PRIMARY SOURCES
George Washington University memo

Safety Tips for GW Students/Employees During IMF/World Bank Protests
For individuals Who are NOT participating in the protests
1. Avoid areas where protests may be in progress.
2. Schedule activities away from campus. Take a road trip.
3. Do not park you car in the area; parking will be very limited and your vehicle may be inadvertently damaged.
4. Report all suspicious activity to University or Metropolitan police if observed.
5. Report any unauthorized individual found inside GW buildings to the UPD.
6. Take advantage of the TIPS line at UPD.
7. Secure your residence hall room and your valuables inside. Do not leave your door unlocked.
8. Report any and all suspicious packages to UPD.
9. Be prepared to evacuate building at short notice. Travel light.
10. Always travel in groups at night.
11. Carry your GWorld Card on your person at all times!

REASONS TO COME TO DC
Robert Weissmann, Essential Action

Russia in the 1990s has witnessed a peacetime economic contraction of unprecedented scale. Many believe much of the blame for the social and economic catastrophe rests with the IMF, which has had a central role in designing and supervising Russia's economic policy since 1992. The number of Russians in poverty has risen from 2 million to 60 million since the IMF came to post-Communist Russia. Male life expectancy has dropped sharply from 65 years to 57. Economic output is down by at least 40 percent. The IMF's shock therapy -- sudden and intense structural adjustment -- helped bring about this disaster.

The Asian meltdown was caused in large part by South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia's heavy reliance on short-term foreign loans and openness to hot money -- a reliance that came from following advice proffered by the US Treasury Department, the IMF and other international sources of "expertise." When it became apparent in 1997 that private enterprises in those nations would not be able to meet their payment obligations, international currency markets panicked. Currency traders sought to convert their Asian money into dollars, and the Asian currencies plummeted. That made it harder for the Asian countries to pay their loans, and it made imports suddenly very expensive. There were other underlying causes for the financial crisis, including over-investment in real estate and other speculative and unnecessary ventures, but almost everyone agrees the currency crash and financial disaster were vastly disproportionate to the weaknesses in the Asian economies. Having contributed in important ways to the development of the crisis, the IMF proceeded to make it worse.

FULL TEXT AND STILL MORE REASONS http://www.a6.org

PREVENTIVE JUSTICE

JASON VEST, PULSE: In all the years he's run the homeless shelter at 11th and M streets in Northwest Washington, Harold Moss has never had the fire marshal show up demanding to inspect the premises. Never, that is, until last week. Moss opened his doors to the Midnight Special Legal Collective, a handful of progressive activist lawyers from Seattle in town for the massive protests against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Suddenly, the fire marshal was interested in going over the place with a fine-tooth comb. "I couldn't prove it one way or another, but in all probability, he showed up because of [the protesters]being here," said Moss, who has managed to stave off the inspector inspection . . . Last Tuesday, Bettie Hoover, the head of the DC chapter of the American Friends Service Committee and a veteran social justice activist, was surprised to learn that two Howard Country police detectives were casing her Maryland farm. "One of my family found these detectives walking around my property," says Hoover, who had listed her farm on the a16 organizing Web site as a camping haven for protesters. "I said, 'Excuse me, who told you to come by,' but they never really did tell me. But they did threaten me with zoning violations if I let people camp. "This guy didn't know diddly -- he didn't know what the regulations were and I did -- and I said to him,' I don't appreciate this harassment.' He said, 'Oh, no, ma'am, we're not harassing you, we're just here to help.'"

THE PULSE: http://www.speakout.com/ThePulse/101240/

QUESTION AND ANSWER

Right below a Washington Post story about the IMF with the headline -- "Embattled Staffers Wonder 'Why Us?'" -- is another story, this one about Haiti, where an accompanying chart shows the effects of IMF's free market strategies on that country. In 1980 Haiti had a GNP of $600 per capita. By last year it was down to $369.

LANDLORD & TENANT COURT EACH OTHER

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, which never met a government official or program it didn't like (especially when it could take a cut) will be giving James Wolfensohn of the World Bank an honorary degree this year. Which is pretty nice, considering the GW owns some of the World Bank's offices. GW isn't treating its tuition-paying students quite as well, having put the campus in a state of lock-down for the weekend, canceling events, denying visitation rights, and closing buildings, including libraries.

PRISON CUISINE UPDATE

This just in from a reliable source concerning our item about the probable lack of vegetarian fare at the RFK gulag: "My protesting friends who have been to the DC Jail numerous times tell me that you often only get bologna sandwiches whether your at RFK or not. But, and this is the important part, they strongly recommend that you don't eat anything they serve -- whether it is vegetarian or not. It is much better to go 24 hours without eating than to eat one of the 'DC Surprise' sandwiches. Plus, apparently you can make really good valuable friends by offering your food to some of the other inmates.

UNIVERSITY OPENS UP FOR WORLD BANK

STATE NEWS: On the same day police arrested seven protesters of the World Bank Group in Washington, DC, [Michigan State University] announced the organization's president will be MSU's undergraduate commencement speaker next month... The announcement of the speakers came as protests began Monday afternoon in Washington, where about 25 people blocked streets, attempted to hang banners and chanted against the organization they say forces poor nations into debt .. MSU President M. Peter McPherson said it is an honor to have Wolfensohn speak at MSU and commended Wolfensohn's contributions to ending world hunger. "Wolfensohn plays a very important role in the world in reducing poverty," McPherson said. "MSU has a long history of involvement with developing countries, so having this very important man speak to us is excellent."

JEWS IN JAIL

MINNA MORSE, JEWS UNITED FOR JUSTICE: The police have told the rabbi who serves as prison chaplain that they expect that all those arrested will be released by Tuesday. Given that that's their party line (and they may indeed believe it), it's going to be hard to make advance arrangements. However, we're in a good position--given what they told the chaplain--to have that rabbi (along with other rabbis and community leaders) return to them if the party line turns out to have been wrong. "So--it's Tuesday night, and there are still protesters in there, some of them Jewish. I need to make sure that they get Pesach provisions if they are in there through tomorrow night. How do you propose we solve that problem?"

In order to get food in to prisoners on the day that they need it, it has to be store-bought packaged and sealed, and in paper or plastic containers. Which means, essentially, that we need to provide: --Matzoh in sealed boxes --Kosher for Pesach grape juice (alcohol prohibited) in plastic bottles. I've been looking for this but with little luck. Any thoughts?? --Green vegetables in plastic bags. --Chopped dates and chopped walnuts sold in sealed plastic bags for Haroset (which folks will have to mix up with juice in a paper cup). --Paper dishes, cups and plastic cutlery. --Horseradish in plastic containers And this is where we start running into trouble. Horseradish is hard (if not impossible) to find in plastic. We may (though I'm not sure about this) be able to ask the jail to provide the ritual items: a beet (shalakic, and enviro, replacement for a lamb shank), roasted egg, salt water, maybe even horseradish root, etc. Or we may have to come up with creative alternatives.

As for Kosher for Passover meals, that's a whole other story--and I think basically impossible. If folks are kept in jail beyond Thursday morning, we will have to lobby the jails hard--and publicly, if need be--to allow special provisions. But hopefully, that won't be necessary. In the meantime, folks in jail will have to abide by their own kashrut guidelines. If you can't eat stuff that's not Kosher for Pesach, you may have to forgo much food after Wednesday at sundown.

DISPATCHES

DAN, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: As some of you might know, some of the buildings that the World Bank and IMF are housed in are owned by this lovely little university called George Washington. And, some of you might also have heard that James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, is getting an honorary degree from GW this year at commencement . . . The police presence is unbelievable, streets are already closed off here, GW closed its dorms to non-GW students starting on Monday, there are literally a 1,000 cops in the IMF/WB/GW area, and most people aren't even here yet. But, here at GW, we have grown from a lonely group of 10 people one month ago, to over 200 at our last meeting . . . Ever since GW implemented the no guests in the dorms policy, and canceled all events starting Friday night, activists have been mobilizing . . . In other news, my phone is tapped, my emails are being read, and it seems that there is always a UPD cop outside my building. Plus, I am getting about 10 phone calls a day who instantly hang up when I pick up the phone.

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY EAGLE: American University administrators canceled Wednesday night's planned media forum on the World Bank/International Monetary Fund out of concerns for safety, cost and bias after IMF representation on the panel withdrew. The panel was expected to draw a crowd of at least 3,000 . . . David Taylor, chief of staff for AU president Benjamin Ladner, said several factors entered into the decision to cancel the event. "We had information from both on and off campus that this event would be targeted as a staging ground for some kind of disruption," Taylor said. The Metropolitan Police Department, already concerned with being stretched during the protests to come, was unable to provide the assistance usually necessary for a large-scale event like the panel, Taylor said.

Security will be increased on campus for the duration of the protest days . . . Additional officers will be patrolling the campus, and extra patrols of several areas will be undertaken to ensure order . . . Unlike George Washington University, which will shut down most campus operations for the duration of the anticipated protests, AU has no plans for a lock-down or severe security restrictions at this time.

WASHINGTON POST: Acting on advice from police, some Foggy Bottom establishments were battening down as if for a storm . . . Potomac Electric Power Co. will close its headquarters . . . idling more than 1,100 employees . . . Kaiser Permanente will close its eight-story West End clinic in the 2100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday through Monday . . . Thousands more employees will have days off, including the staff of one of the city's largest private employers, George Washington University, which will be closed Saturday through Monday . . . Howard Osterman, a podiatrist, in the 1700 block of I Street NW, is closing Monday, a day that he had 30 appointments scheduled. "I love working in DC, and this goes with the territory: demonstrations and free speech," he said. "It is part of the charm of working in the District."

Police and landlords are showing merchants video clips of some of the unruly action during the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in the fall . . . John Faison, general manager of TGI Friday's, said his landlord showed him scenes of demonstrators . . . But he isn't closing the restaurant. He pointed to the 50 or 60 police officers having a lunch break yesterday afternoon. He expects a lot of police business for the duration of the protests. "When 50 leave, 60 more come in," he said. "So we feel very secure."

WASHINGTON POST

THE POLICE RIOT OF MAY 1971

[Although the DC police have generally handled mass demonstrations far better than their recent Seattle and New York City counterparts, there is one extraordinary exception that should serve as a caution to everyone this week: what can fairly called the police riot of May 1971. In "Captive Capital" [Indiana University Press, 1974] your editor described the event]:

The nicer, smarter, more sensitive police department of Jerry Wilson concealed a dangerous fact: it posed a far more serious threat to the freedom of the city's residents than had the force that preceded it, For as the department's size, skill, and technology expanded, so did its potential for political control. Seeing Washington under its blanket of blue one could understand what University of Maryland political scientist Ralph Stavins meant when he said, "The country is turning into a schoolroom where everybody has to raise his hand for permission to do anything." Whereas before it had been the fact of crime that put limits on behavior, increasingly it was the fear of crime, expressed through mechanisms for its control, that altered the lifestyle of the city. . .

Most distressing and frightening were the three days of May 1971 when the DC police department literally ran amuck. In a searing report on the police department's reaction to the anti-war Mayday protest, the American Civil Liberties wrote:

Between May 3 and May 5, more than 13,OOO people were arrested in Washington, DC-- the largest mass arrest in our country's history. The action was the government's response to anti-war demonstrations, an important component of which was the announced intention of the Mayday Coalition, organizer of the demonstrations, to block Washington rush-hour traffic. During this three-day period, normal police procedures were abandoned. Most of the 13,000 people arrested -- including law-breakers caught while attempting to impede traffic, possible potential law-breakers, war protestors engaged in entirely legal demonstrations, uninvolved passers-by and spectators -- were illegally detained, illegally charged, and deprived of their constitutional rights of due process, fair trial and assistance of counsel. The court system, unable to cope with this grand scale emergency caused by the police, was thrown into chaos.

During the Mayday police riot, people were beaten and arrested illegally, locked up by the thousands in makeshift holding pens with inadequate toilet facilities and food, or stuffed into drastically overcrowded cells. People on their way to work, patients going to see their doctor, students attending classes, reporters and lawyers were all caught up in the sweep arrests. Most of those stashed in the DC Jail exercise yard were without blankets throughout a night in which the temperatures fell below forty. And in the most symbolic display of contempt for the law, more than a thousand persons were arrested in front of the Capitol where they had assembled to hear speeches, including several from members of Congress. When Rep. Ronald Dellums tried to keep a policeman from arresting a member of his staff, saying, "Hey, that's a member of my staff. Get your hands off of him. I'm a United States Congressman," the policeman replied, "I don't give a fuck who you are," then hit Dellums in the side with his nightstick and pushed him down some stairs.

It was the grimmest display of mass police power -- not just selective brutality against a few -- this city had seen. And it was a clear warning of the fearful danger inherent in Washington's acceptance of police power as a form of government. The fact that neither the black chief executive, Walter Washington, nor the white liberal newspaper, the Washington Post, could summon up either the wisdom or the courage to denounce what Wilson and his men, acting under orders of the Justice Department, had done made the affair all the more dismal. More and more the city was listening to sirens luring liberty onto the rocks of safety. -- Sam Smith

AN ACTIVIST AMONGST
THE ROBBER BARONS

[Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in the Public Interest managed to get himself invited to a day-long high-level seminar on "After Seattle: Restoring Momentum to the WTO." Speakers included Clayton Yeutter (former Secretary of Agriculture), Robert Litan (former Associate Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget), Lawrence Eagleburger (former Secretary of State), and Luiz Felipe Lamreia, the foreign Minster of Brazil. His fly-on-the-wall report is worth quoting at some length]:

I was disappointed that only one representative like myself from a non-profit organization concerned about the impact of the WTO on food safety regulation was invited. But I was pleased that the door had been opened and I looked forward to [it].

. . . As it turned out, I got a lot more than I bargained for. The seminar ~ turned out to be a strategy session on how to defeat those opposed to the current WTO system. Apparently, no one knew who I was (perhaps my graying temples and dark suit helped me blend in with the overwhelming older male group of attendees) and I did not speak up until the end of the meeting.

The meeting was kicked off by a gentleman named Lord Patterson who was Margaret Thatcher's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He began by stating that our number one job is to restore confidence in the WTO before embarking on any new rounds of trade negotiations. So far, so good, I thought.

But he then proclaimed that non-profit groups have no right to criticize the WTO as undemocratic because the groups themselves do not represent the general public. (I wondered which groups he was talking about because organizations that are gravely concerned about the impact of the WTO on environmental and consumer protection, like the Sierra Club and Public Citizen, have hundreds of thousands of members). He then stated that we must never have another WTO meeting on US soil because it was too easy for advocacy groups to organize here and security could not be assured . . . He added that President Clinton's speech during the WTO meeting in Seattle, in which the president acknowledged the protesters' concerns, was "disgraceful" and stated that it was also disgraceful that delegates to the WTO meeting in Seattle had to survive on sandwiches and couldn't get a decent meal during three days of social protest. The Lord finished his speech by recalling better times having tea with Maggie, and stating that the staff of the WTO Secretariat ~ should not be balanced with people from developing countries just because of the color of their skin. After a few words with the chairman of the meeting, Lord Patterson added "Oh, I hope I have not offended anyone."

. . . The largely American audience of trade officials and policy wonks took the Lord's pronouncements seriously. The first comment by an American, picked up on the criticisms and asked 'How can we de-legitimize the NGOs?' The questioner claimed that these groups are usually supported by just a few charitable foundations and if the foundations could be convinced to cut off funding, the groups would be forced to cease operations. Mr. Litan, the former White House budget official, had another approach. He [asked] can't we give the NGOs other sandboxes to play in and have them take their concerns to groups like the International Labor Organization (a toothless United Nations sponsored-group). The representative from the US Trade Representative's office said nothing.

. . . Under the banner of rebuilding public confidence in the WTO, [former Agriculture Secretary] Yeutter concurred with his British colleague's suggestion that the next WTO meeting be held in some place other than the US where security can be assured. He further suggested that the WTO give the public little advance notice of where the meeting would be held to keep the protesters off balance. He said that the protesters' demands for greater transparency in WTO proceedings was a misnomer because the protesters didn't really want to participate in WTO proceedings -- all they wanted was to get TV coverage and raise money for their organizations.

. . . The day ended with the usual Washington reception . . . During desert, the foreign minister of Brazil lamented that if the next WTO meeting had to be held in an out of the way place, he preferred that it be held on a cruise ship instead of in the middle of the desert. He then gave an impassioned speech in which he opposed writing core labor standards into the WTO agreement and defended child labor by describing how in one region of Brazil, more than 5,000 children "help their families earn a little extra money" by hauling bags of coal from a dump yard to a steel mill. He stressed, however, that the children do not work directly in the steel mill. He was greeted by a hearty round of applause.

INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURE AND TRADE POLICY

A DOZEN REASONS TO COME TO DC

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, in their latest column, give a dozen reasons to come to DC for the April 16 demonstrations. Among them:

-- IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs have increased poverty around the world.
-- IMF/World Bank "debt relief" for poor and indebted countries is a sham.
-- The IMF has helped foster a severe depression in Russia.
-- The IMF helped create and worsen the Asian financial crisis.
-- The IMF bails out big banks.

MOKHIBER & WEISSMANN

POLICE HARASSING DEMONSTRATORS

TPR has received a number of reports of overt interference by police in preparations for the April 16 demonstrations. While the use of informers and agents provocateurs by the police, military, and intelligence agencies is not unknown in the capital, open efforts to intimidate participants prior to an event is virtually unknown. These attempts have included on the visit by DC police to a protest planner, first reported by Jason Vest, who "told him, that the postering activities of his group were illegal and must cease immediately, and any further activity would likely be cause for arrest." This was simply not true under DC law. In another instance, a protest planner found a message from DC police trolling for information on possible "violence." In another case, an activist was reportedly threatened with zoning violations for permitting camping on her rural property.

Police officials, in contrast with their even-handed public statements prior to other demonstrations, have been quoted in both the Washington Post and Washington Star making highly prejudicial comments about a demonstration that has yet to occur. For example, the Washington Times quoted a law enforcement sources as saying, "These are people who say they have First Amendment rights and are willing to do anything to exercise those rights, even if it means violence" and "It's hard to tell about these guys. It's a bunch of middle-class kids who are looking for something to protest." Both DC papers, after suppressing news of the protests for weeks, are now playing up the potential for violence.

In suburban Montgomery County, the school system has circulated a flyer urging people to be on the look out for mobilization materials in school and to report them to the school safety office. The memo, from the schools' Department of School Safety reads:

*** This office has received the following information from the Montgomery County Department of Police, Special Investigations Divisions. Detective Thomas Cauffiel asked Mr. Douglas Steel, field security coordinator, to notify school based staff to be observant for any material referring to the upcoming International Monetary Fund rallies which are scheduled for April 9-17, 2000 in Washington, DC Police are concerned that a group named "Mobilization for Global Justice" might attempt to recruit high school students to join in a planned rally. The police reported the following: "Splinter groups, possibly associated with this group, took part in the recent demonstration in Seattle that turned violent." If you see any materials on your campus which refer to these rallies, please contact the Department of School Safety and Security at 301/279-3066. ***

And here's a report from a student activist at Washington's American University:

*** AU was supposed to be part of the limelight next week at the IMF/WB protest. We were supposed to host the town hall meetings beforehand. We were supposed to have the pres of the WB and IMF, Nader, AFL reps, and every scholar you can think of. We were supposed to have ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN here 24-7. To our wonderful surprise we found out the metro police have been tapping our phones and emails and have been sending spies to our meetings. They found out about two students leafleting against Marriott and sent 30 plain-clothed policemen to spy. They refused to send support for any protest the meetings might bring, and convinced our university to cancel them (fearing that someone, just someone might have an opinion against the powers that be). They will also be conducting a lock-down next week. Anyone who is not resident of the dorms will be kicked out and surveillance will be max. We will be protesting next Wednesday (when the town hall meetings were supposed to start). ***

In prior years, the government has interfered more discreetly. It has on occasion, for example, used black activists as informers and provocateurs against white protest groups, capitalizing upon ethnic antipathies. During the notorious May Day demonstrations of the early 1970s, your editor spotted one of these activists amongst a group of arrestees (who would number 12,000 by day's end)and then, sometime later, spotted the same man in conversation with the legal counsel of the Metropolitan Police. Still later, the activist was back mingling among the arrestees. Agents provocateurs have also not been unknown in activists groups such as the DC Statehood Party and DC Green Party.

Ironically, the police activities could well come back to haunt them in court cases that might arise out of the demonstrations, serving as evidence of the police's willingness to interfere unconstitutionally with free speech and of a deep bias against the demonstrators. The activities also carry some of the aura of military psychological warfare, suggesting that the ideas may not have necessarily originated in the police department.

JOURNALISTS DENIED ENTRY

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER: No press credentials for weekly newspapers, community radio stations, and other small media outlets that want to cover the IMF and World Bank spring 2000 meetings and the large demonstrations planned by social justice and environmental activists. In what appears to be an attempt to prevent media coverage that is unfavorable to its policies, the IMF has denied press passes to journalists who work at the Boulder Weekly, KAOS radio of Olympia, Washington, CorporateWatch web site, and other independent media outlets.

Although the IMF has yet to explain its policy, a staff person at the IMF press office told Craig Hymson of the Independent Media Center that the organization "does not provide press accreditation to public access TV, community radio, student or academic publications."

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER

GREAT MOMENTS IN JOURNALISM

Peter Jennings reported last week that the protests would be "against US trade relations with China."

WHIPPED CREAM CALLS
WONDER BREAD WHITE

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, complained in a recent article that the Washington demonstrators were too white and privileged. The WSJ also claimed, "there is, however, a strain of thought among the Seattle set that the whiteness of their campaign against the global corporate conspiracy is, in fact, the fault of the global corporate conspiracy."

RUMOR OF THE DAY

Vegetarians are concerned that only bologna sandwiches will be served in Washington's RFK Stadium if it is used as a mass lock-up.

 

MARCH 2000

WHY WE ARE HERE

Because the world we had imagined, the one
we had always counted on
is disappearing.
Because the sun has become cancerous
and the planet is getting hotter.
Because children are starving in the shadows
of yachts and economic summits.
Because there are already too many planes in the sky.

This is the manufactured world
you seek to codify and expedite.
We are here to tell you
there is something else we want to buy

What we want, money no longer recognizes
like the vitality of nature, the integrity of work.
We don't want cheaper wood, we want living trees.
We don't want engineered fruit, we want to see and smell the food growing
in our own neighborhoods.

We are here because a voice inside us,
a memory in our blood, tells us
you are not just a bank, or a fund; you have become the blind tip
of a dark wave which has forgotten its source.
We are here to defend and honor
what is real, natural, human and basic
against these rising tides of greed.

We are here by the insistence of spirit and by the authority of nature.
If you doubt for one minute the power of truth
or the primacy of nature
try not breathing for that length of time.

Now you know the pressure of our desire.
We are not here to tinker with your laws.
We are here to change you, and ourselves, from the inside out.
This is not a political protest.
It is an uprising of the soul.

[The above was sent us by poet in Washington state who wishes to remain anonymous, noting that he had borrowed the phrase "uprising of the soul" from your editor's unpublished work -- "Why Bother? " He urged that the poem be kept, recycled, or given away as it was during the Seattle demonstrations.]

VISITORS' GUIDE TO THE NATION'S CAPITOL
Where your laws are made -- and broken

Spare a moment from the grim phalanxes of international bankers and local cops to notice something important about Washington in April: it is quite beautiful. This month and the one that follows are, in fact, those in which the natural and the made city are most at odds with one another. Spare a moment also for a walk by the Potomac River or in Rock Creek Park. It will remind you of what a world without phalanxes of international bankers and local cops might be like.

Spare a moment from macro politics to observe an oft-ignored fact. The oppressed lands are not only on other continents, but under your feet. DC is a colony in the precise meaning of the term, all the more so because so few seem to notice. It is especially nice, albeit rare, when those who come here to cure the sins of the world include our menial status among them.

This town is filled with pompous and silly people who believe being somber is the same as being serious. Not taking them as seriously as they take themselves throws them, as they would say, off their game. People who attend World Bank and IMF conferences are even sillier, because they sit in limousine-created traffic jams for forty minutes in order to travel a distance they could have walked in twenty. In fact, in recent years DC has been disrupted been far more by IMF limousines than by any other form of demonstration. No one in the limousines has ever been arrested for disrupting traffic.

Otherwise, DC has handled demonstrations pretty well with the glaring exception of a May Day protest in the early 1970s when 12,000 people were locked up in what was the greatest abuse of police power in a single day in American history. Mayor Walter Washington refused federal demands that he shoot looters during the 1968 riots and Marion Barry's administration had few gripes with many of the demonstrations and the official response reflected that. Barry also had an emergency management team that kept its cool and helped the feds keep theirs. Now it's different. The federal government has resumed control of the city and the mayor and city council are little more than colonial aparatchiks with about as much power over city's direction as an Amtrak engineer has over the direction a train. Further, not the mayor, not the police chief, nor the emergency planning director has ever faced a major protest demonstration in this city. And, despite incessant talk about good management, competence is in short supply these days. During the Barry years, things the mayor wanted to get done got done right; those he didn't care about didn't. These days what the mayor wants doesn't seem to matter all that much.

Not everyone who acts like a young Republican is one. A lot of them are young Democrats. A lot of the others are young journalists.

Don't expect the oppressed peoples of DC to rise up in the name of global justice. The last time any sizable number of locals took part in a demonstration was in the 1960s -- over a rise in the bus fare. This town filled with people -- black and white -- who have done better than their friends and relatives back home, have spent a lifetime gaining some respect and aren't about to risk it for something as nebulous as global justice.

Older Washingtonians also remember the 1968 riots, which isn't that hard to do since there are still plenty of scars. Trashing property in DC can bring back some bad memories.

This is a 60% black city undergoing socio-economic cleansing. One suburban county has so many black former DC residents that it is known here as Ward 9. But it's no joke. Here are just a few of things that have happened since the federal government took over in the mid-nineties: huge budget cuts of which 60% of the burden fell on the poor; closing of four of the city's ten health clinics; slashing the number of public health workers; cutting the budget for libraries, city funded day care centers, welfare benefits, and homeless shelters; creation of a tax-subsidized private "charter" school system; dismantling the city's public university including a massive cut in faculty, destruction of the athletic program and elimination of normal university services; selling the city's public radio station to C-SPAN; transferring prisoners to private gulags hundreds of miles away; a presidential rip-off of the city's pension funds to help balance the federal budget; loss of a regular federal payment for the first time in a century; a dramatic increase in the number of lock-ups including for traffic stops; and the subjugating of the elected school board to an appointed board of trustees.

This is a black city whose roots go back many generations; ten percent of its black population was free even in the early 19th century. During the early years of this century, DC was the intellectual and cultural hub of black America, including influential Howard University; the city was what the Harlem renaissance was before there was Harlem. You can get a feel for this story by visiting the U Street strip of bars and restaurants, once Washington's "black Broadway," and now (along with omni-ethnic Adams Morgan) a favored evening destination.

This is a bi-racial city -- actually the first city of the new south although it never got the credit -- which has handled its ethnic problems better than many places. Part of the reason is that it is too small a city to deal for long with abstractions like race and class. Within five minutes the discussion gets down to personalities. We all know the SOBs and that they come in all colors.

There is a progressive media in Washington but if you hold more than two events at the same time they may not all be covered. If we were spotted owls instead of progressive journalists you wouldn't be allowed to build within ten miles of our favorite bars.

There is a mainstream media in Washington but if you hold even one event it probably won't show up because it has already written the story, and you're not in it. The only investigative reporting in town is done by actors in bad TV shows. When mainstream reporters say that they "cover" a beat, they really mean it.

The publisher of the Washington Post, Donald Graham, is pround that he was once a DC cop. Which may why his paper sometimes reads like an FOP newsletter when discussing the police. It spends much of the rest of the time quoting the aforementioned pompous and silly people or having its own writers say things these people will like, such as words like "gravitas" and "appropriate."

DC is a good place for blacks, women, and gays but a terrible place for progressive ideas. Which illustrates the limits of identity politics.

The city does have a progressive tradition but it is being socio-economically cleansed along with everything else. It lives on in such places as the newly merged DC Statehood and DC Green parties as well as in the young and black Umoja Party (which got ballot status the first it tried). The bi-racial DC Statehood Party held public office for much of its 30 years and back in the early 1970s not only supported statehood but neighborhood housing banks, public ownership of key commercial strips, proportional representation, low-rent facilities in new for small businesses, stalls for artisans, craftsmen and other small operators, the construction of public markets, a national guaranteed income, ownership of liquor stores by neighborhood cooperatives, legalization of gambling, prostitution, marijuana use and drug addiction; free abortions on demand; cooperative control of cable television; youth representation on legislative and other governing councils; creation of an equal service commission to ensure equal distribution of public services; neighborhood participation in the selection of police officials; and an ecological commission with the power to halt or alter projects and practices detrimental to the environment. This was during a time when some folks also tried to grow trout in Adams-Morgan basements. During a brownout, however, all the trout died.

If you're in the Dupont Circle area, visit the Daumier exhibit at the Philips Gallery and learn how a 19th century rebel handled social and political protest. Daumier even went to jail. He still gets exhibitions; those who jailed him are forgotten.

As for weather, the advice of Mark Twain remains the best, "When you arrived it was snowing. When you reached the hotel it was sleeting. When you went to bed it was raining. During the night it froze hard, and the wind blew some chimneys down. When you got up in the morning it was foggy. When you finished your breakfast at ten o'clock and went out, the sunshine was brilliant, the weather balmy and delicious, and the mud and slush deep and all pervading. You will like the climate -- when you get used to it. . . . Take an umbrella, an overcoat, and a fan, and so forth."

Finally, two things to remember. The first is from the late blues singer Leadbelly, "It's a bourgeois town." The second is from the late blues DJ, 'Bama Washington: "Ninety percent of the people in DC spend ninety percent of their time bragging about how great they are, but they can't brag and move at the same time, so while they're standing there talking, you just slip on by."

REAL DCthe progressive review archives

DC PROTESTS APRIL 2000

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JULY 2000

JULY 2000

LAWSUIT FILED

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED charging the federal and DC governments with deliberately plotting to disrupt and stifle peaceful protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In it, the government is accused of having:

- unlawfully intimidated, harassed and disrupted the protest.
- falsely portrayed the protesters as threatening violence
- maliciously closed the protesters headquarters for pretextual fire code violations
- confiscated protesters political literature, banners and medical supplies
- wrongfully barred protesters from demonstrating near the World Bank-IMF meetings
- arrested hundreds of protesters without cause
- used excessive force against non-violent demonstrators all with the purpose of preventing the protesters from exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

The events of the April protest rank with the 1930's assault on the bonus marchers and the police May Day riot in 1971 as the most glaring abuses of police and government power against demonstrators in the capital's history.

EXCERPTS FROM SUIT

Plaintiff Rob Fish was injured by excessive police force on April 17, 2000 when he was taking photographs of police misconduct against demonstrators. Plaintiff Fish was beaten over the head by an undercover officer wielding a baton as he was taking pictures. Another officer who was in uniform stomped on his camera. Plaintiff Fish's personal property, including video camera and videotapes, was confiscated and not returned when defendants seized the Convergence Center.

Plaintiffs Patricia Doyle Mohammadi and her then 13-year-old daughter Mitra Mohammadi were arrested, separated and detained for eight or more hours without cause on April 15 at the IAC demonstration on 20th Street. Plaintiffs Mohammadis had sought to learn more about the demonstrations, and went to learn the views of the persons demonstrating against the prison-industrial complex as well as to videotape portions of the demonstrations that were occurring at that time. Plaintiffs Mohammadis were arrested without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Plaintiff Steve Olson was arrested April 15 at the IAC demonstration on 20th Street, N.W. As a producer for public access television, he had sought to inform the public about the demonstrations and the demonstrators' viewpoints. He was arrested and detained for over eighteen hours without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Plaintiff James Erich Keller is a biochemist who served as a legal observer for the demonstrations. On April 15, 2000 Plaintiff Keller, who was prominently wearing a green hat and a badge identifying him as a legal observer, was arrested and detained without cause when defendants preemptively swept the street in a mass arrest of demonstrators and others who were within the vicinity of the demonstrators' speech and assembly.

Defendants stopped and frisked individual protesters without reasonable suspicion or consent.

Agents of the defendants searched demonstration organizers or their vehicles without probable cause or consent, and made pretextual visits to their places of residence. They stopped demonstration organizers on the street, showed them photos which had been taken of them, named persons with whom the activists were associated, and otherwise made it known to them that the government was watching them.

Agents posing as political activists infiltrated the demonstrators' organizations and informal groups.

Government helicopters flew and hovered at low altitudes over the Convergence Center and the residences and property of protesters.

Defendants caused the George Washington University to ban overnight guests in its dormitories during the period of the protests and to prohibit demonstrators from using GWU facilities that had been promised to them; caused the American University to cancel an assembly and panel, which had included Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who was scheduled to speak on globalization and the World Bank and the IMF; and caused the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority both to close Metro stations that plaintiffs were expected to use and to prohibit passengers from carrying political banners and signs attached to thin pieces of wood, which is customarily allowed.

The Mobilization established its meeting house, or "Convergence Center" at 1328 Florida Avenue, NW The Mobilization used the Convergence Center as a place for meeting, exchanging political ideas, teaching techniques of non-violent civil disobedience, creating political signs, puppets and banners, and for the storage of tens of thousands of pieces of political material, including leaflets, newsletters, T-shirts, banners, puppets, buttons, circulars, posters and stickers . . . The protesters had assembled at the Convergence Center for approximately two weeks prior to April 15, during which time the defendants used extensive surveillance, including the use of undercover agents, to enter and observe the activities and conditions within the Convergence Center.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on April 15th, the DC Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Fire Department raided the Convergence Center. They declared the site to be in violation of the fire code, evicted all persons who were there, and sealed the doors.

Defendants refused to allow the removal of plaintiffs' political materials and their personal belongings, including food, clothing and medicine, although no fire hazard would have been presented by permitting them to do so.

By Saturday evening, attorneys for the protesters had arranged for an emergency hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 16, before United States District Judge Thomas Hogan, in which they intended to present their claims that the raid and confiscation had violated the protesters' constitutional rights. In exchange for cancellation of that hearing, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on April 16, the District of Columbia entered into a written agreement to allow the protesters to retrieve their materials at 7:00 a.m. on April 16 with the assistance of District officers.

However, when the protesters arrived with trucks at the appointed time, agents of the District of Columbia refused to assist in the removal of items, refused to allow the plaintiffs to remove their political literature and property, delayed, and threatened to arrest plaintiffs and their lawyer.

The District of Columbia kept the Convergence Center closed and refused to release the confiscated materials until approximately 7:00 p.m. on April 17th, a few hours after the demonstrations had ended. When released, much of the confiscated property was damage. Other confiscated property was missing. Video equipment, including video tapes of police misconduct, were never returned.

The above actions were taken as a matter of District of Columbia policy and were ratified and approved by policy makers of the District of Columbia, including MPD Chief Charles Ramsey and the Office of Corporation Counsel. The raid on the Convergence Center was pretextual, and would not have occurred but for defendants' desire to disrupt plaintiffs' demonstration activities. The raid and refusal to return related materials was timed to cause maximum disruption of the demonstration, and had the purpose and effect of depriving plaintiffs of their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly within the Convergence Center and to create, possess and use the First Amendment protected materials as part of their demonstration activities.

The District of Columbia publicly disseminated false information casting the Mobilization and other plaintiffs as violent. After illegally seizing and searching the Convergence Center, the District of Columbia announced to the media that it had confiscated the makings of pepper spray. The District later conceded that the "pepper spray" was in fact peppers, onions and other vegetables found in a kitchen area and were the makings of gazpacho soup. The District of Columbia announced to the media that it had found a Molotov cocktail inside the Convergence Center. The District later conceded that the "molotov cocktail" was in fact a plastic soda bottle containing rags. After a raid on an activists' residence, the District of Columbia announced that it had confiscated an undisclosed amount of ammunition. The District later conceded that the confiscated item was a Mexican ornament, a string of empty shells. These examples of dissemination of false information by defendants were part of their effort to disrupt plaintiffs, to discredit plaintiffs, to justify defendants' actions in interfering with the demonstrations, and to portray plaintiffs as violent in order to discourage participation in the demonstrations.

On April 15, 2000, several hundred demonstrators, including plaintiffs IAC, Becker, Holmes, Olson assembled without violence at the United States Department of Justice to protest the "Prison Industrial Complex" pursuant to a permit issued to plaintiff International Action Center. After a rally, the demonstrators walked west from the Department of Justice. Police escorted the demonstrators and advised them that they did not need a permit as long as they remained on the sidewalk, which they did. Plaintiff IAC informed the MPD that they wished to walk to Dupont Circle from which location they would disperse. Metropolitan Police Department officials stated that the demonstrators could proceed up 20th Street to Dupont Circle for that purpose. However, as plaintiffs moved up 20th Street, police in riot gear surrounded the procession, preventing movement or dispersal.

Before trapping the procession, the police did not order plaintiffs to disperse. After blocking the procession, the police did not allow plaintiffs to disperse even when individuals asked to be allowed to leave. The police imprisoned the people who had been caught in their trap for approximately one hour. This included not only peaceful protesters, but also journalists displaying press credentials, passers-by who had been attracted by the protesters' message, and unknowing tourists and others who were in the area only by coincidence.

The police then arrested substantially everyone they had caught in their trap, including bystanders, journalists and tourists. More than 600 people were arrested. These arrests - which took place before the IMF - World Bank meetings and protests - were made in order to make it difficult and frightening for the arrested individuals to participate in the demonstrations in the following two days, and to discourage others from participating in or observing those demonstrations by signaling to them that they were likely to be arrested even if they did not break the law.

The arrestees were held in harsh conditions. They were restrained in plastic handcuffs that inflicted pain, discomfort and distress. Arrestees were confined on buses and denied food and water, in some cases for as long as 18 hours or more. Arrestees were denied use of a bathroom for hours, causing discomfort and humiliation. Arrestees were denied use of lawfully dispensed prescription medications for pre-existing conditions. Arrestees were denied use of a telephone to contact family members or attorneys.

Metropolitan Police Department officers deliberately misinformed arrestees of their rights, falsely stating that they would be detained, in some instances for days, unless they posted and forfeited fifty dollars. Defendants did not advise plaintiffs of the option to post fifty dollars and appear at a hearing to contest the arrest. As a result, arrestees may not be deemed to have knowingly waived any rights when they posted and forfeited.

Defendants created and maintained an enormous Exclusion Zone that insulated the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund from protest, and prevented demonstrators from having their political expressions be heard and seen by those within those buildings. The Exclusion Zone encompassed at least fifty blocks and included Lafayette Park, parts of Pennsylvania Avenue, and other park land, streets and sidewalks in downtown Washington, DC This zone was maintained until the night of April 17, 2000, after the demonstrations had ended. No demonstrators were permitted to enter the Exclusion Zone. The only persons allowed to enter the zone were persons who had been approved by the IMF and World Bank, certain media, and area employees and residents with identification.

There was no lawful justification for the creation and maintenance of this Exclusion Zone. Defendants had no reasonable basis to expect violence against any person, and the defendants had adequate personnel and equipment on hand to permit the demonstrators to bring their protest within sight and sound of their intended audience, while still protecting the safety of persons and property and assuring that the IMF - World Bank meetings could proceed.

LAWYERS
Arthur B. Spitzer, ACLU 202/457-0800
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard 202/530-5630
Jonathan Moore, National Lawyers Guild , 212/614-6432
James R. Klimaski, 202/296-5600
Daniel M. Schember, 202/328-2244