Washington, protesters prepare for international meetings

WASHINGTON — Students from around the country will gather in Washington this weekend to protest the actions of two major international organizations and urge leaders to better conduct trade overseas.

The biannual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have drawn protesters all week, with the majority planning to speak out Sunday and Monday. Local officials have been preparing heavily for the event in light of the violence that erupted during the Seattle meetings of the World Trade Organization last year.

Mobilization for Social Justice, the organization leading this week’s protests, has planned events throughout the week, but the goal is not to shut down the talks of the two groups.

Our victory is already imminent, said Laura Jones, an MSJ organizer. We want to draw the nation’s eyes to these horrible institutions.

Jones predicted that thousands of protesters will be at events this weekend, and filmmaker and political activist Michael Moore will emcee the protests.

People are riding off the spirit of Seattle and going to take to the streets, Jones said. In Seattle, we took to the streets, and we won. People power can really take on these institutions of global power.

The World Bank and IMF provide loans and resources to foreign countries. Jones said the practices of the two groups focus on the bottom line at the expense of the people.

We object to the policies which put corporate profit before human rights, destroy environmental lands for flawed export-based economic policies, she said.

In the aftermath of the Seattle riots last year, Washington’s Metropolitan Police has been preparing for the protests to become violent. Several streets surrounding the offices of the two organizations are closed, and local businesses have been asked to close shop on Monday. The George Washington University, which is located next to the IMF and World Bank headquarters, will be closed Friday through Monday and will not allow guests to access the residence halls.

That decision has angered protesters, many of whom were planning on staying with friends and supporters in the GW residence halls.

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