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Protest organiser Matthew Smucker
 real 28k

Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Protesters rally round common enemy
Protesters carry a puppet of President Clinton
Protesters use huge puppets to express their anger
By BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson in Washington

The demonstrators in Washington have come from around the world and from across the political spectrum.

The protests have attracted trade unionists, environmentalists, people working on healthcare and development issues.

Their common enemies are global financial institutions.

Matthew Smucker, who works at a so-called convergence centre set up in a warehouse in Washington said they had come together to battle with common enemies and promote a common vision.

He said: "We believe fundamentally that our communities and the communities around the world are more qualified to determine our own futures than any unelected global financial institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO."


A trainer shows how to swab pepper spray from a victim's face
Protesters learn first-aid for pepper spray
Protesters began arriving a week ago to take part in marches against the World Bank and IMF.

Protests of this scale involve a large amount of planning and a rather involved system of logistics. Large groups of people need to be housed and fed.

The warehouse is a beehive of activity. Saws buzz through plywood for placards and other props for the marches. The air is filled with smells of paint and of vegetarian cooking.

In other parts of the centre, protesters are learning civil disobedience techniques and receiving first-aid training.

One of the training sessions taught people how to swab protestors' faces with alcohol-soaked cotton to relieve the effects of pepper spray.

Sequel to Seattle

Wrenn Sand is a university student in Florida. She worked to finish her studies early so she could take the week off and travel to Washington DC to participate in protests.


A sign says 'SHUT DOWN IMF WORLD BANK APRIL 16'
Protesters hope to spur meaningful debate about the bank
She wants debt relief for the poor countries. She said US economic policy kept these countries in debt.

"It keeps people from receiving social programmes and monies for food and healthcare," she said.

They have great hopes for the success for the protests.

"I think it will definitely raise awareness all over the United States. Nobody knew what the WTO was until the protests against the World Trade Organisation," said Ms Sand.

Another protester, Robert Weissman of Washington said, "The IMF and the World Bank for 20 years have imposed structural adjustment on countries around the developing world with impunity because no one in the US has been able to pressure them into changing their policies. This week, that is going to change.

"Through a week of protests, we think that we can meaningfully change the debate in the United States, really move policy and defund the bank," he said.

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13 Apr 00 | Business Basics
The IMF and World Bank
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