Protests hit D.C.

Posted 10:20a.m. April 19

by Marcus Mrowka
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Washington, D.C., over the weekend, creating traffic delays and causing police to close certain portions of the city.

The demonstrations coincided with the twice-yearly meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, although not all of the demonstrations were centered around the meetings.

On Saturday, anti-war protesters took to the streets, gathering in Freedom Plaza downtown. The group chanted, beat drums, waved signs protesting the war, and danced in fountains. The demonstrators then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

At the front of march, protesters displayed a large yellow and black banner with the words “Impeach Bush!” as marchers chanted “No blood for oil, U.S. off Iraqi soil.”

Mary Newman came from Ohio to take part in the protests.

“I took part in a lot of anti-war demonstrations around my area, but I really wanted to come to D.C. to show my support for the anti-war movement,” she said.

The demonstrations were relatively peaceful, with only a few minor incidents where protestors and police clashed. At one point a demonstrator tried to knock an officer off of his bike. No arrests were made in the incident.

The demonstrations were organized by the International ANSWER coalition, which has sponsored a number of past demonstrations in D.C. and around the country.

Another group supporting President Bush gathered in front of the Capitol. Waving American flags and cheering for U.S. soldiers, they called anti-war protestors unpatriotic. They were also the point of ridicule as signs urged anti-war demonstrators to go to France if they didn’t like the President.

Both groups converged on the National Mall on the crisp spring days.

On Sunday, the Latin American Solidarity Coalition and the Mobilization for Global Justice organized demonstrations directed at the IMF and World Bank meetings. The called for cancellation of debts owed by impoverished countries and demanded the elimination of policies that limit access to food, water and health care.

Around noon, marchers began what they called a “tour of shame,” targeting companies and agencies they said were pushing misguided policies. The tour included the Inter-American Development Bank, where protesters voiced criticisms similar to those they leveled at the World Bank and IMF.

Outside the barricaded IMF and World Bank buildings, protesters converged on a park shortly before dusk. The crowd this year was smaller than at previous IMF and World Bank protests, Metropolitan Police reported.

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