- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey is trying to reassure us that he has, or will have, everything under control next Friday, the day the Anti-Capitalist Convergence and other hooligans plan to shut down the nation's capital. His comments make us nervous.

Chief Ramsey is urging commuters not to drive to work and school that day. If we do, he suggests that we bring "a sandwich and a good CD to listen to because you could be stuck in traffic for awhile." There is no humor in his comments.

The Anti-Capitalist Convergence (ACC) and other violence-prone groups will be in town next week to demonstrate against the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. On Sept. 27, the day before the meeting, the protesters plan to block motorists from entering the city. "The chief has a very good assessment of what to expect," ACC organizer Michael Loadenthal said. "We are planning to shut the city down."

Those unadulterated threats must not be taken lightly. Protesters are planning a massive bike rollout smack in the middle of morning rush hour at Union Station. They plan other morning disruptions near City Hall and the White House. Additional plans will be firmed up at meetings held over the next few days at D.C. public libraries. So beware these meetings must be open to law enforcement and the general public.

The chief's plan to deal with this don't drive, or "bring a sandwich and a good CD" is unacceptable. That would spell victory for the hoodlums.

Clearly, what Chief Ramsey must do is thwart the protesters' plans. Shut them down before they cause trouble. For starters, the chief should look into prohibiting their bus caravans from parking. The organizers' preselected parking lots include several Metro locations including Greenbelt, Stadium-Armory and Franconia-Springfield. Those lots, as well as others controlled by Metro, are primarily there for daily commuters. Surely, there are legal options in the name of public safety to prohibit private buses from using those facilities. Besides, more commuters will be utilizing those parking lots now that the chief has discouraged them from driving to work and school.

Instead of trying to play the protesters' "game," as Chief Ramsey characterized the situation, he should be steps ahead, thinking of ways to shut them down before they can cause any serious trouble.

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