- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

D.C. police have readied themselves for World Bank and war protesters who will descend on the city April 20, but officials are holding out hope for nonviolent demonstrations.
"The code word for Saturday, Sunday and Monday is 'peace,'" said Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer. "Our hope will be that we will only be stuck trying to handle a peaceful crowd."
The Metropolitan Police Department has planned for strength in numbers: Leaves of absence have been canceled and overtime arranged for the 3,609 D.C. police who will be clearly visible to protesters. Police are expecting crowds of between 10,000 and 20,000.
There also will be civil-disturbance units, 200 National Guardsmen and about 500 officers from police departments in Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
"We will not brook any destructive behavior," Chief Gainer said. "We will use our strength in the law if we must."
The first demonstration is set for April 20 outside the World Bank headquarters near the White House on H Street NW, where the International Monetary Fund will hold its annual spring meeting.
A week of demonstrations against the World Bank and IMF in April 2000 resulted in about 1,200 arrests. At the time, D.C. police occasionally used their batons to push back crowds and pepper spray to clear sidewalks and streets. The department was widely praised for keeping the estimated 10,000 demonstrators under control.
"We're working from the playbook of April 2000," Chief Gainer said. "We are well-prepared. We continue to sharpen our skills on these IMF protests."
Of course, that was before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and Chief Gainer said police "are sensitive" to the heightened concerns about security.
Two parade permits and several National Park Service permits that allow gatherings have been issued to protesters, which include college students against the war in Afghanistan and Palestinians against U.S. aid to Israel.
Police expect large numbers of counterdemonstrators, particularly on April 22, when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
Some streets will be closed April 20 when anti-war and anti-racism demonstrators plan to rally and march from the Ellipse south of the White House to the Justice Department and then to the U.S. Capitol.
The Metropolitan Police Department's 13 digital cameras will be used to help catch violators and prepare for future demonstrations, Chief Gainer said.
The police Mobile Command Center will be stationed near the largest demonstration. Refurbished with electronic gear at a cost of $65,000, it will be the meeting place for commanders and will maintain contact with other protest sites.
If the demonstrations do grow destructive or violent, Chief Gainer said stations are prepared to efficiently book many protesters. Two years ago, the booking stations were overwhelmed by mass arrests.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and Chief Gainer met with the Washington Board of Trade on Tuesday to outline preparations and recommend that downtown businesses avoid scheduling deliveries on April 20 and 21, and keep trash containers empty.
George Washington University, whose campus is near the World Bank headquarters, will operate on a normal schedule. However, nonstudents will be prohibited from staying in university residence halls, and all students, faculty and staff have been advised to carry their school ID cards.

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