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Anti-War Protests Underway in D.C.

Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 12:27:49 -0700
This article is a reprint from this link:
< link to www.washingtonpost.com

Anti-War Protests Underway in D.C.
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 12:27:49 -0700

< link to www.washingtonpost.com

Anti-War Protests Underway in D.C.

By Christina Pino-Marina
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Saturday, September 29, 2001; 2:13 PM

Demonstrators began a series of weekend rallies in the
nation's capital today, shifting from anti-globalization themes to
anti-war protests after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New
York and Washington.

About 10 a.m., hundreds of protesters organized by the
D.C.-based Anti-Capitalist Convergence group started their march
toward the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
headquarters, at Pennsylvania Avenue and 18th and 19th streets
NW. The demonstrators left Upper Senate Park, at New
Jersey Avenue and C Street NW, headed down New Jersey Avenue
to H Street NW and through Chinatown.

D.C. police had estimated that 4,000 people would take
part in anti-war
events in the city today, but organizers of a noon
march have said they expect 10,000 people for that
event alone.

As many as 100,000 protesters had been expected to
converge in Washington
this weekend to demonstrate during the IMF
and World Bank meetings. The meetings were canceled
after terrorists leveled
the World Trade Center towers and destroyed a
section of the Pentagon, killing thousands. Some
protests groups abandoned
their plans to rally in Washington, but others
quickly mobilized behind a growing anti-war movement.

At the core of the anti-war sentiments, some
protesters say, is the belief
that Osama bin Laden, the Saudi fugitive targeted by
the Bush administration as the mastermind behind the
attacks, should be
brought to justice through courts instead of military

Protesters, flanked by police officers in riot gear,
carried signs with
anti-capitalist and anti-war slogans. One slogan
stated "To
Stop Terrorism, Stop Terrorizing." A man whose face
was covered by a black
handkerchief gave no answer when asked about
the meaning of the sign.

Natalie Williams, 68, of East Harlem, N.Y., carried
another anti-war slogan
stating "Violence Does Not Solve Violence."

"I don't categorize this speaking out against a
potential war as
anti-American," Williams said. "I'm objecting to the
policies of
America. The U.S. ? they were the ones who set up
these policies, this
exploitation of people around the world."

Many of her fellow protesters carried black and red
flags and beat drums and
the bottoms of plastic buckets as they headed to
the IMF and World Bank headquarters.

At one point during the march, there were brief
skirmishes between
protesters and police. On H Street, between 11th and
streets, demonstrators surrounded a police cruiser and
sat on the hood of
the car. Officers responded by spraying pepper spray
and backing the protesters away from the scene.

Gabe Talton, a lawyer from the National Lawyer's Guild
who was at the march
as an observer, said he witnessed the incident.

Protesters "surrounded the car and tried to stop it
and another red SUV," he
said. "They sat on the cars and then the police
sprayed some pepper spray. I don't think anyone was
hurt, but I did see a
policewoman who had her helmet stripped off."

One police official was hit by some pepper spray
during the march. Executive
Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer could
be seen near the World Bank splashing water on his
face and in his eyes.
However, Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman, said
Gainer was all right, adding, "He just got hit in the
eyes with some pepper

For the most part, the protest was peaceful with
protesters focusing on
their message and not aggression toward police.

Katrina Errico, 18, who hitchhiked from San Francisco,
said the terrorist
attacks caused a significant change in the tone of
today's protest.

"It's geared a lot more towards peace, love and
unity," Errico said. "Before
it would have been a lot more radical and violent.
The attacks kind of calmed people down a lot."

Another protester, a 20-year-old man from Western
Pennsylvania who would
only identify himself as "Fusion," said instead of
military strikes, he prefers for the United States to
try negotiating with
those responsible for the attacks.

"We should try any solution except destruction. If
there is no possible way
to negotiate peace and truth, we may have to support
military strikes," Fusion said. "We should find out
what it is they hate
about us. We should make compromises in our support of
Israel, and we should end our absolute economic
imperialism. Both the United
States and the terrorists share responsibility in the

After protesters reached the World Bank and IMF
headquarters, police
prevented them from leaving for about an hour. Police
encircled protesters in front of the World Bank and
blocked off the entrance
to the World Bank with metal dividers and a police
line. During that time, protesters played soccer, held
hands and chanted.
Police then pushed protesters, directing them back
down H street.

U.S. Park Police showed up on the scene in black riot
gear to help bolster
the police presence. They established lines on cross
streets to help control the crowd movement.

About 1 p.m., at H and 15th streets NW, another brief
clash occurred between
demonstrators and police. Streams of pepper
spray dispersed the crowd and Police Chief Charles
Ramsey, who had been
leading a line of police ahead of the protesters,
helped pin down one demonstrator, who was handcuffed
and taken away.

The demonstration moved down 14th Street to Freedom
Plaza, 14th Street and
Pennsylvania Avenue NW. There
demonstrators joined hundreds of other protesters for
a second march to the
U.S. Capitol.

Onlookers watched from behind shop windows and along
the march route. Darryl
Williams, a tourist from Rochester, N.Y.,
said he was distraught by the activity. "Right now, I
am nothing but angry
when I see this; all they are doing is dividing the
country," he said. "They don't appreciate what they

The march originating at Freedom Plaza was organized
by a coalition called
International ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War
and End Racism. The group was formed by the
International Action Center, a
New York political activist organization that
originally had planned to surround the White House.

Police said they also expected hundreds of
counter-demonstrators at the
Washington Monument and possibly along the planned
routes of the anti-war demonstrators.

Police said they did not expect major delays but
planned to close streets
along the routes for brief periods of time while the
demonstrators marched.

Tomorrow, an event organized by the Washington Peace
Center and the D.C.
office of the American Friends Service
Committee will take place at 11 a.m. at Meridian Hill
Park, 16th and Euclid
streets NW. That march will take demonstrators
through Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan.

2001 Washington Post Newsweek

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