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Friday, 27 September, 2002, 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
Mass arrests at anti-IMF demo
Protesters run on hearing police approach after disrupting traffic
Protesters tried to disrupt the morning rush hour
Police in Washington have arrested about 600 people at anti-globalisation demonstrations against meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

This is the headquarters. You take the battle to where the power is

- Kenyan Bishop Rt. Rev. Peter Njenga
There were scuffles and small-scale violence as campaigners took to the streets, chaining themselves together and setting fire to tyres, in the first of an expected three days of protests.

"This is not a police state, we have a right to demonstrate," protesters shouted, as many of them were penned in by ranks of police clad in riot gear.

Protesters have alleged that the violence was started by the police, who tried to arrest peaceful demonstrators.

Protesters against the clothes store Gap
'Gaptivists': "We'd rather wear nothing than wear gap"
Among the tactics aimed at disrupting the capital's morning rush hour, demonstrators made hoax calls to the emergency services, staged sit-ins and cycled en masse through the city.

Other protesters danced through the streets with mud and leaves smeared on their faces and clothes.

However, many commuters heeded advice to avoid driving into the downtown area and, with a few exceptions, traffic flow was unhindered.

And finance ministers met without interruption, though surrounded by barricades of police.

Police presence

A massive police presence has been deployed and the area around the World Bank building has been cordoned off with iron crowd-control barriers.

A total of 3,200 police, including 1,700 brought in from other forces, some as far away as Chicago, have been deployed.

Between 200 and 300 protesters were arrested near the White House after they staged a drumming protest against a possible attack on Iraq.

And early on Friday morning about 65 protesters were charged with rioting after they broke the plate glass window of a Citibank branch and threw smoke bombs in the business district.

Greenpeace arrest

The District of Columbia police chief warned protesters that anyone caught damaging property would be jailed.

"Those people that are apprehended will be missing several protests because they are going to be behind bars," Charles Ramsey said.
Police officer from Arlington, Virginia
Police have been brought in from around the country

Some Washington residents have complained of being manhandled by police despite not being involved in the protest.

A high-profile arrest was that of John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace.

He said he was merely trying to get to work on his bicycle.

IMF appeasement

The Anti-Capitalist Convergence, which is organising the protests, called on people to make Friday a day of non-compliance and resistance to help voice their demands for the abolition of the World Bank and IMF.

Their numbers have been swelled by opponents of the US threat of war against Iraq.

Ahead of the meeting, the IMF seemed to make an attempt to address some of the demonstrators' concerns.

Managing director Horst Koehler acknowledged that the benefits of globalisation have not been equally shared, especially within poor countries.

"But the objective should not be less globalisation but more and better globalisation," he said.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Washington
"Washington can expect three days of demonstrations"
The BBC's Andrew Walker
"The IMF and the World Bank have no qualms about criticising trade policies of their biggest member countries"

Developing countries

World economy
See also:

27 Sep 02 | Americas
27 Sep 02 | Americas
27 Sep 02 | Business
26 Sep 02 | Business
25 Sep 02 | Business
23 Sep 02 | Business
19 Sep 02 | Business
19 Sep 02 | Business
24 Sep 02 | Business
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