- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2001

D.C. police, bracing for wide-scale street demonstrations next month during the meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yesterday said they intend to take the necessary steps to protect the city.
"Whatever takes place, we will keep control of these streets, and Washington, D.C., is not going to burn," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said during a news conference yesterday.
Chief Ramsey said he will deploy a force of about 6,000 police from Washington and surrounding areas to maintain order during the weekend of Sept. 29-30, when World Bank and IMF representatives will meet.
"We have a problem on our hands, and we are going to be hard-pressed to be able to maintain order, have the meetings take place, allow the protests to take place and not have any property damage," he said. "That's a huge challenge we face, but it is doable."
Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, citing the growing levels of violence that have accompanied similar economic meetings recently in Europe, said the department would take some extra steps to control the street protests, which officials say could attract as many as 100,000 demonstrators.
"That is why there is so much money being spent and high fencing being used, because of the level of violence of a small cadre of people has escalated," Chief Gainer said.
The police plan to install 10-foot-high barriers, called grand prix walls, between 20th and 15th streets NW and around the White House, IMF Building and World Bank building to protect police and delegates attending the meetings. Police also will be equipped with fire-retardant clothing.
Chief Gainer said police plan to allow demonstrators to protest in the park at 18th and H streets NW, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the two buildings. He said the plans could change.
During the April 2000 demonstrations in Washington, police found evidence that protesters were making firebombs, but none was thrown during the protests, the chief said.
Since then, protests around the world have become more violent, and demonstrators are tossing firebombs at police. "That causes us to be a little more nervous," Chief Gainer said.
The city intends to spend about $30 million on the protests, $28 million of which will cover police costs. Chief Gainer said $11.5 million will be needed to pay police with riot experience.
The city is negotiating with the White House to have the federal government pay the city's added expenses.
Chief Gainer said the police department hopes to use about 3,000 officers from other jurisdictions and from federal police forces to assist.
He said 1,200 officers from the New York City Police Department civil disturbance units will work the lines, along with 1,700 D.C. officers with riot-control experience.
He said the out-of-town officers will be under the control of the Metropolitan Police Department but their unit commands will remain within their departments.
Other units from as near as Virginia and Maryland and as far away as North Carolina and Pennsylvania are planning to assist.
This article is based in part on wire reports.


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