nettime's_roving_reporter on Sun, 16 Apr 2000 21:10:30 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> A16 report Sun 14:11 EDT


WASHINGTON POST: Protesters and even tourists who witnessed the
event said not only did police fail to order people to disperse
but they also prevent those who wanted to leave from doing so.

On April 15, 2000

APRIL 16 1:00 PM WTOP-AM: People inside the World Bank and IMF
buildings have been told they must stay inside the building. . .
At one point, all of the police put on gas masks. The crowd took
offense and started chanting. Moments later, Police Chief Ramsey
arrived and presumably ordered the removal of the masks. Since
then, Ramsey has been patrolling up and down the police line and
talking to protestors saying, "Peace, no violence." Chief Ramsey
clearly doesn't want this to escalate. He admits he's "nervous"
but says, "everything is fine." When protesters saw him, they
broke out in a spontaneous chant of "join us chief!"

ROVING GROUPS OF PROTESTERS are closing down streets in downtown
Washington, as police resort to clubbings, tear gas, and pepper
spray in reaction. . . .Two homes used as gathering places for
activists have been broken into and ransacked. . . Many IMF
delegates got to their conference by arriving before dawn. . .
Police beat and dragged nonviolent protesters on Pennsylvania
Ave., including a wire service reporter who required medical

to press with the "Blind Spot," IMC's print publication due to
hit the streets tomorrow, we are confronting a serious technical
difficulty: Citing "riot activity" the Kinkos print shops in the
area are either closed already or thinking about it....

Philip, from Oberlin College, Ohio, sporting a box of freshly
printed pamphlets told me that he had left one Kinkos (24th and K
street) that closed after police came in and harassed people
printing up pro-demonstration, or simply anti-IMF literature.
There was of course, no riot activity in sight.

At least three Kinkos have already closed. It remains unclear how
long the other popular "24 hour" printing outlets will remain


Report from Locked Down DC Streets, 4/14/00 
by Greg Ruggiero 12:01pm Sun Apr 16 '00 

Aggressive police action and arrests have begun on 
masse in the streets of Washington D.C. 
This morning the police raided the main "convergence center," a
sprawling meeting place where activists held non-violence
trainings, built puppets and props, gave away free food,
information and condoms, and held strategy sessions for the
coming demonstrations. Using "fire code" as their excuse, the
police raided the center and prevented organizers from retrieving
their puppets, costumes and props. Local churches immediately
became alternative spaces,  and civil disobedience trainings and
media trainings continued without interruption for the rest of
the day.

At 3:30pm I joined with activists outside the Department of
Justice for an IAC organized demonstration against the U.S.
prison system.  After a half hour of speeches hundreds of
demonstrators left the site and marched in the general direction
ofthe IMF and World Bank buildings. As the march proceeded, our
numbers grew from hundreds to thousands. Midway through the march
I called Mike Eisenmenger at the IMC to report that the cops were
maintaining tight control, using squadrons of motorcycle cops to
hedge protestors off the street and keep them on the sidewalk.
Police-blockaded streets manipulated the flow and direction of
the march. Nevertheless, our energy was high, our numbers kept
building, and our voices and drums overpowered the roar of the
helicoptersthat hovered above us.

As we approached the intersection of "I" and 20 Street NW the
crowd overwhelmed the police, and we took the streets. As
we spilled off the sidewalk the crowd rang out "Whose streets?
Our Streets! Whose streets? Our streets!" Joy and energy shot
through the crowd.

Only a few minutes later the march paused at 20ths Street
and K. The police were waiting for us and had blocked the
intersection with a regular division of city cops. The march
paused, but the chanting and bull horn speeches continued.
Abouttwenty minutes later there was a buzz in the crowd: our
street full of protestors was cut off from the rest of the march
and surrounded by cops.

On both ends of the street a full line of police had sealed
off access and was detaining all of us 500 to 600 protestors
between their lines. I reached Eisenmenger on his cell as an
armored personal carrier arrived behind police lines on 20th and
K. When a fleet of long yellow school buses rolled in behind the
armored personal carrier, the situation became allto clear: they
were preparing a mass arrests of all the surrounded protestors --
500 to 600 in all. IAC organizers began using their bullhorns
to organize the crowd for arrest. Eisenmenger and his crew

I got a call from him on my cell, and we could see each
other across the riot police line. Using our cells for sound, I
submitted a video report of the situation on the locked down
street. Jessica K. Glass and 5 or 6 other IMC journalists was
trapped with me in on the street. While mainstream journalists
were permitted to leave, independent media were not. Jessica
nobly attempted to negotiate with the cops, but they made zero
concessions. The only people permitted to leave were mainstream

A crowd of supporters began gathering across the street from the
20th and K intersection and started chanting "let them go, let
them go, let them go!" Lieutenant Jeff Harold of the DC police
then rolled up on his motorcycle and took position in the center
of the riot line. He announced the time, and then said something
like: "You have marched without a permit. Arrests will begin
immediately." At that point he gave an order, and the line of
visored riot police advanced on us from both sides, in
goose-step, grunting in unison like Conan with each step they
took. They were closing in fast. I quickly punched in the numbers
of a friend in New York, described our predicament, and asked her
to phone my family if she didn't hear from me within 24 hours. As
the cops moved in from both sides, the crowd of protesters
cleared the street and began hugging to the sides. Just as it
looked like I'd be spending A16 in the klink, I saw a two person
mainstream media unit heading for the line, holding up their
press credentials, making the break before they found their
wrists in plastic. Deciding I had a shot at escape, I scooted up
behind the two journalists, held up my camera like a press pass,
and held my breath as I passed clean through the line of riot
cops. A wave of joy shot through me once I realized I was free,
and immediately tried calling Jessica on her cell phone to advise
her on how to slip through. No such luck. Within minutes I was
photographing the cops force her hands behind her back, bind them
with plastic cuffs, and escort her through the DC drizzle to one
of the prison buses. 

As she passed before the crowd, an IMC video worker shouted out
an interview question, "Why are you here?" Jessica answered, "to
send the messages that the corporate press will never carry. To
free the media! Free the media!"

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