The Metropolitan Police Department prepared exhaustively for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this weekend based on several violent protests last year, but they found the Foggy Bottom area surprisingly quiet.
Officers restricted vehicle and pedestrian access for several blocks around the IMF and World Bank buildings near campus during the annual meetings from Saturday through Monday. Yet despite a growing global economic crisis, protesters did not flood the streets this year to oppose the financial institutions.
Last year’s meetings prompted violent protests in the streets of Georgetown on the first day of the meeting, during which at least one person was injured. The protests continued the following day on the corner of 19th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, drawing more than 100 people.
The GW Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management issued a precautionary warning to students about weekend restrictions imposed by MPD, although GW’s level of alert remained at normal.
“You always have to take security measures when the IMF and World Bank meet,” University spokeswoman Tracy Schario said.
The weekend was not completely free of protestsm, however.
Nonprofit advocacy groups Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth drew around a dozen people to protest the World Bank’s funding of unclean energy sources on Friday, a day before the meetings officially commenced.
“Our premise is that we don’t want people to be fooled,” said Kenny Bruno of Oil Change International. “The World Bank and IMF helped to create the financial and climate crises. The World Bank is busy creating climate funds while claiming to help the climate crisis, when in reality they are busy funding the root of the climate crisis.”
The protesters displayed their discontent symbolically by painting large barrels, meant to represent coal, with green paint to mimic the World Bank’s funding of unclean energy sources.
The protest was the direct-action portion of several days’ worth of events held by the two organizations.