IMF in DC begins
colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Mon Apr 17 09:17:37 CDT 2000
[ed: here is Chad's second street-level installment from D.C. And with
pride I must tell you all that he is one of my former Community Organizing
From: Chad Burger <ChadAB419 at collegeclub.com>
Well here it is Sunday evening and I am able to send e-mail because I am
not in jail. This seemed very uncertain at the outset of the day.
We were late getting to our assigned meeting place in D.C. this morning.
We were driving around and looking for other protestors, seeing only many,
many cops. We were reluctant to get out of the van and be picked up right
We started walking to where we thought our cluster should be and realized
that they had advanced much further than any of us thought was possible
beforehand. Our cluster was targeting G St. between 22nd and 23rd. The
IMF/WB buildings are located from 20th to 18th streets between G and H
streets to give some perspective as to how close we were to the IMF. Our
cluster was actually locked down at the intersection of 21st and G, about
two blocks further than we thought we would be able to advance toward the
IMF. The lockdown was amazing, there was an octopus in the
middle(several protestors locked at the neck by U-locks, surrounded by a
ring of protestors locked together in lock boxes)that was just amazing.
Surrounding and supporting the hard lockdown, were about 100 protestors in
a soft lockdown (linking arms, no hardware). We supported by going toward
the 20th Street end of the block and being part of a soft lockdown at a
police barricade. There were police facing us from across a second
barricade about a hundred feet away. The police facing us across the
barricade never seemed poised to take action, standing around at ease.
At about 11:30 it was decided that the police were unlikely to try to push
towards our position as this would mean breaching their barricade. So
after a few hours of chanting, being boosted by radical cheerleaders, a
puppet parade and a marching band, not to mention blocking a handful of
IMF delegates from reaching the meeting from this avenue of approach, it
was decided that we could leave this position and move around.
IMF What's Up? What's Up?
A16's gonna fuck you up!
We traveled around for a few blocks and it was amazing. There were so
many more people in the streets than we could have imagined. There were
signs hung across streets, people assembling where they felt like it, and
of IMF delegates being blocked from getting to their meetings. Down near
Washington Circle, we encountered the Anti-Capitalist Block (formerly the
Black Bloc, but expanded to include more than just anarchists) in all of
their black and red glory.
We decided to fall in with the bloc for awhile and see how that was. We
marched back up 21st St, where we had just come from. As we neared 21st
and G, where the octopus was, we realized that there was a bus pulled up
to their position and the cops were trying to break the barricade. After
being unsuccessful, the police retreated to their bus. The crowd moved
toward them, shouting "Shame, Shame, Shame." At this point the police
rushed back at the protestors, employing tear gas. I couldn't see the
gas, but I could see the white riot helmets moving at the crowd at a
running pace. Protestors donned their gas masks and sat down and linked
arms. Eventually, the police retreated again. This time the protestors
kept moving toward the police, with much of the black bloc in the front.
Parked cars were moved sideways to form barricades and then, from down the
block, there was the unmistakable clang of a very large dumpster rolling
over. Eventually, the marchers came back towards us. Then there were
reports that the police were trying the same tactic one block up. Many
people moved to that location to support, and of course, a dumpster went
Later in the day I learned from people toward the front of the cluster
that one young non-violent protestor had his nose broken and several of
his teeth knocked out during the police charge against our cluster's line.
After this confrontation, we moved along with some group members following
the black bloc, and some moving toward the permitted rally over the
Ellipse. Along the way we walked through several streets that were
definitely in control of the people. There were parked cars pulled out
into the street, dumpsters in uncommon places, piles of furniture in the
middle of the street and more.
As we were moving toward the Ellipse we came to the intersection of 18th
and E. There was a barricade set up there with protestors on our side and
a police presence on the other side. There was a squad of additional
police officers marching toward this position, so we stayed for awhile to
help strengthen the position. After quite awhile of these additional
officers not doing anything but stand in formation with their hands on
their pepper spray canisters or shotguns we left.
We walked over toward the permitted march and found some shade under a
tree. We kicked off our shoes and took a much needed nap in the grass for
Traveling back toward the area where we started out we were surprised to
find that many of the lockdowns were not in place anymore. It seemed a
little odd to have to think about cars coming down the streets that we had
come to think of as ours. Nevertheless, the streets still were ours.
People who had nothing to do with the protest were able to rollerblade
down the middle of streets that would normally be filled with automobile
traffic. It didn't matter if the blockades were gone, the streets
belonged to the people today.
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