Anti-globalization protests fall short of expectations
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Sep 29 07:31:52 MDT 2002
(It will be interesting to see if the "anti-globalization" movement
begins to redefine strategy and tactics in light of the rather modest
turn-out and impact of this weekend's actions in Washington.)
Protesters' Momentum Weakens as Crowd Thins
By Monte Reel and Manny Fernandez
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 29, 2002; Page C01
Protesters who threatened to blockade the annual meetings of the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank largely abandoned those
plans yesterday, the second time in two days that a heavy security
presence overwhelmed their ranks and easily controlled downtown Washington.
Police had prepared for as many as 20,000 activists, and some organizers
expected the biggest demonstration against the two financial
institutions in Washington since the raucous protests of April 2000.
But by last night, police estimated the turnout at 3,000 to 5,000, and
plans to blockade the meetings and keep delegates from leaving fizzled
when only scattered groups of protesters showed up.
Organizers with the Mobilization for Global Justice said last night that
police had established too large a perimeter for them to be able to
block delegates, but they claimed victory nonetheless. "The point was
putting out our truth," protester Charity Ryerson said. "And we did that."
As demonstrators capped a largely peaceful day of marching by streaming
into a small park outside the IMF and World Bank offices at 5:45 p.m.,
the large, homemade Trojan horse they were carrying snagged on a tree
branch, and its cardboard head broke off. "Kind of symbolic of the
protests," Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said later.
But protesters talked of being inspired by the thousands-strong call for
an end to corporate greed and said numbers did not matter. Others in the
crowd suggested that the anti-globilization movement has suffered from a
shift in activist priorities since Sept. 11, 2001, and that it embraces
issues that do not provide easy rallying points.
"It's a bit disappointing," said Cathal Healy-Singh, who came from
Barbados for the march. "It would be greater if the issues were more
The April 2000 protests came several months after activists in Seattle
had shut down meetings of the World Trade Organization amid clouds of
tear gas and street battles with police. Last year's annual meetings
were called off because of the terrorist attacks, and the
anti-globalization protests scheduled to coincide with them were
replaced by smaller antiwar marches. Some activists said the time gap
between protests cost momentum.
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