Posted 2:47 p.m. Sept. 30
by Marcus Mrowka
U-WIRE (DC BUREAU)
(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Police packed the streets of Washington, D.C., for the second day in a row, waiting for thousands of expected protesters who failed to appear.
D.C. Metropolitan Police had prepared to do battle with up to 20,000 protesters on the second day of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this weekend. The number of protesters was estimated at the end of the day to be between 5,000 and 6,000 — far less than police had geared up for.
“It’s a bit disappointing. It seems to be a little small. It would be great if the issues were more visible,” said a marcher in one of the protests.
About 20,000 demonstrators came to the District in the spring of 2000 to protest the meetings of the IMF and World Bank, which protesters say hurts third world counties and the environment. The meetings were cancelled last year because of the attacks in New York and the District, and the number of protesters hasn’t been able to come close to that of ever since.
“We need to get back in the streets in force after 9/11,” said Nadine Bloch, one of the organizers of the demonstrations.
Activists in this years demonstrations have a long list of issues they are fighting for including the war against Iraq, oil companies, third-world debt, environmental issues, racism, and global AIDS.
The demonstrators met at noon at the Washington Monument Saturday for a free concert and speakers on the various issues that drew the relatively small crowd to D.C.. At 3 p.m., demonstrators headed north to Farragut Square to make their message heard, but were surrounded by police.
The day took on a tense mood when some of the demonstrators set fire to a dummy in a business suit and an American flag, bothering some of the protesters.
“As soon as the media saw the flag burning, everything else that happens here becomes nothing. The message becomes we’re angry young people,” said a protestor from a nearby college.
Protesters then made their way to Murrow Park across from the IMF and World Bank offices and adjacent to The George Washington University. Police had set up a protective barricade around the IMF and World Bank buildings that kept protesters at a distance from delegates attending the meetings.
Many of the surrounding buildings had been closed and boarded up including some of the buildings on the George Washington University campus.