Sunday, April 23, 2006

Police officials yesterday reported few protesters and one arrest during the weekend demonstrations that coincided with the annual spring meetings at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters in the District.

Jason Perkinson, 26, of Richmond, was arrested Saturday night for carrying a stun gun, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Police said an officer spotted the gun on Mr. Perkinson while escorting a group of about 30 demonstrators near the intersection of 20th and L streets in Northwest. Mr. Perkinson was trying to conceal the weapon but was not seen trying to use it, police officials said. He has been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and is expected to be arraigned today.

The small, mostly peaceful turnout protesting the banks’ lending policies was similar to more recent demonstrations but unlike those some years ago.

In 2002, protesters in the District caused widespread vandalism, and about 400 people were arrested in Pershing Park. The District recently passed a law requiring city police to wear identification badges, limit use of tear gas and follow new guidelines on investigating protester activities.

This weekend, a series of small protests were held, but no permits were issued for marches or large demonstrations.

However, police turned on a network of surveillance cameras and closed downtown streets surrounding the headquarters, including 18th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

“We decided to protest in a number of small, theatrical ways,” said Basav Sen, a spokesman for the Mobilization for Global Justice, adding, “I believe it did” work.

A street-theater demonstration was staged Friday noon at 19th and H streets Northwest, and protesters merged in front of the Northwest home of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

Organizers said the purpose of going to Mr. Wolfowitz’s home was to say that bank policies in foreign countries bankrupt poor people and force them from their homes.

“He never came to the door,” Mr. Sen said. “We left an eviction notice.”

The protests during the banks’ conferences in the spring and fall are usually staged by Mobilization for Global Justice, 50 Years is Enough, Jubilee USA and Stop HIV/AIDS in India. Mr. Sen said the fall meeting is to be in Singapore.

Yesterday, police and security forces began relaxing as the rain quit and the sun emerged.

“Three protestors, that’s all, left this morning,” said a Secret Service officer who declined to give his name. “Maybe the rain caused it.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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