- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2005

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that he anticipates no trouble from the 100,000 anti-war and anti-globalization protesters expected this weekend in the city.

The demonstrations are scheduled through Monday, with the biggest turnout expected tomorrow at an anti-war rally on the Ellipse, immediately south of the White House.

The rally is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. and will be followed by a march that starts in front of the White House and ends at the Ellipse.

Other events planned for tomorrow include speeches by actress Jessica Lange, activist Ralph Nader, the Rev. Al Sharpton and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose enlisted son was killed while fighting in Iraq.

Police have activated the city’s network of surveillance cameras and announced a series of street closures and parking restrictions in connection with the events.

The demonstrations are scheduled to take place around the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings and in front of DAR Constitution Hall in Northwest.

The streets around the hall, at 18th and C streets Northwest, will be closed tomorrow until about noon so the banks can hold opening ceremonies for their semiannual meetings. Streets will be closed around the banks’ headquarters tomorrow and Sunday, when the biggest anti-globalization protests are scheduled to take place.

Chief Ramsey said he has readjusted days off and put officers on 12-hour shifts. Though several local jurisdictions will provide help, city police will not have the assistance of hundreds of officers from across the country, as they had during recent demonstrations.

“We’ll be stretched pretty thin,” Chief Ramsey said.

He said the department will have less assistance, in part, because the protest organizers have a good track record in the District.

“They’ve been peaceful, and we don’t anticipate anything but a peaceful protest,” Chief Ramsey said.

He is more concerned about the smaller, more violent groups that refer to themselves as anarchists and have attempted to disrupt demonstrations in the District by setting fires and destroying property.

“I don’t think peaceful is part of their agenda, but we’ll deal with that as it comes up,” Chief Ramsey said.

The group Mobilization for Global Justice, which has a history of participation in anti-globalization demonstrations in the District, has announced plans to work with the group Adopt an Intersection Campaign to prevent bank delegates Sunday from getting to their meetings.

“The plan is for affinity groups to adopt intersections …and hold them as long as possible,” according to the Web site www.septemberaction.org.

“They have a right to protest, but the World Bank has a right to meet,” Chief Ramsey said.

This will be the first major march and series of protests in the District since city officials placed restrictions on how police officers can handle demonstrators.

The restrictions follow a 2002 demonstration in which city police herded demonstrators without permits into Pershing Park in Northwest. The changes limit officers’ use of police lines to encircle demonstrators and the use of wrist-to-ankle restraints.

Chief Ramsey described the restrictions as “unnecessary,” but he said his officers would abide by them.


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