- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2000

Washington, D.C. police have some advice for anyone coming to work today in the downtown area affected by World Bank and International Monetary Fund protests: Take an ID and a sandwich.
Authorities expect some of the worst tie-ups ever seen in the downtown area as thousands of protesters continue their street demonstrations on the final day of the World Bank-IMF annual spring meeting.
Even pedestrians will "more than likely" be barred by police from entering a barricaded area bounded by Constitution Avenue, Virginia Avenue, 25th Street, M Street and 14th Street NW, Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said last night.
An exception will be made for persons with identification showing they work inside the barricaded area, but "I would doubt very seriously we will have the luxury" of allowing anyone else through the barricades, he said.
Chief Ramsey recommended that commuters, particularly those who work near the World Bank and IMF buildings, stay home from work or be prepared for extra long traffic delays.
They should "bring a sandwich," he said. "I think that people can bank on being in traffic congestion like they have never seen here before."
Pedestrians and motorists who feel they must come downtown are being advised to use M Street, 25th Street, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue. Car-pool lanes on Interstate 395 will also be affected.
The demonstrators succeeded, at least in part, in shutting down the government: The federal government announced last night that only emergency federal employees who work within the area around the World Bank and IMF buildings should report for duty today. That applies to employees who work on or between 12th and 23rd streets NW from Constitution Avenue to K Street.
Other federal offices in the District will operate under an unscheduled leave policy, meaning employees may use annual leave time, but should call and let supervisors know they will not be coming in.
Federal offices within Virginia and Maryland will remain open and operate as usual.
D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams issued a liberal leave policy for all nonessential D.C. government employees, which means employees may use unscheduled leave. Essential employees, as well as employees of the police and fire departments, Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Corrections should report to work as usual.
Arlington County last night also declared a liberal leave policy.
County Manager William Donahue said the decision is due to the inconvenience workers may encounter while traveling through the District.
Protesters vowed to continue their disruption today even if it impacts people who work nearby.
"We have no intention of disrupting ordinary citizens' work," said Nadine Bloch of the Mobilization for Global Justice. "We're rather sorry that might have to happen. There may be some blockages."
Some government workers planned to skip work even before last night's announcement.
"I'm thinking about just staying home and working there rather than go in," said Jessica Burgesson of Gaithersburg, Md., who works near the World Bank and IMF buildings. "I just don't want to deal with the mess that they're predicting is going to happen."
Commuters who use public transportation also will have problems getting to work.
Metro officials said last night they will shut down the Farragut West and Judiciary Square stations for a second day to keep passengers clear of the demonstrations, which have been countered with pepper spray, smoke bombs and tear gas.
The two stations were closed yesterday morning at police request, said Ray Feldmann, a Metro spokesman. Officials closed McPherson Square for several hours before reopening one of its entrances. McPherson Square will be open today.
"We want to make sure our passengers are safe," Mr. Feldmann said. "We recognize the right of people to protest, but our top priority is protecting our passengers."
Mr. Feldmann said Metro will run full bus service starting at 5:30 this morning and has added two cars to each of its trains on the Red and Orange lines to accommodate heavy ridership.
Trains will run through the closed stations today without stopping, he said. Metro will monitor conditions through the day and close other stations if it is deemed necessary.
"It will just depend on operating conditions of the protesters," Mr. Feldmann said. "The ball is really in the protesters' court."
Mr. Feldmann said any changes in the plan will be posted on Metro's Web site (www.wmata.com).
D.C. police said they also have restricted traffic flow around Judiciary Square, from H Street to Constitution Avenue, between Third and Sixth streets. That includes Third Street between Constitution Avenue and G Street; Fourth and Fifth streets between Indiana Avenue and G Street; C, D, E and F streets between Third and Sixth streets; and Indiana Avenue between Third and Sixth streets.
Chief Ramsey said it was impossible to predict whether more streets would be shut down today in response to the movements of the protesters.
"We are doing the honest-to-God's best we can," Chief Ramsey said. "This isn't Amtrak we're running here."
The Virginia Department of Transportation will close the car-pool lanes on Interstate 395 between the Pentagon and the 14th Street Bridge so public safety personnel from Virginia can easily reach the District if they are needed, said Joan Morris, a VDOT spokeswoman.

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