Knuckleheads With Nightsticks At 20th And 1st
Third eye witness account from SQUALL's Si Mitchell, in Washington DC as protest continue to rage against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Summit in the capitol.
17th April 2000
Day two of actions against the World Bank and IMF saw the teenage shock troops of global resistance once again beaten down with billy-clubs and zapped with tear gas, in the heart of the planet's power capital.
Before Washington's workforce (most of which were advised by police to stay home because of the actions) had hauled their sorry asses out of bed, DC cops were roaming the downtown area in cars, vans and tanks scooping up anyone who looked like they might have a problem with corporate domination.
Masked activists dodged an early morning deluge of rain and tear gas before a three thousand strong contingent turned up and forced the old bill to back off. One inspired individual managed to stop a speeding police car by diving onto the road in front of it. He got a mouthful of the spicy stuff [Pepper Spray] for his troubles. He was also pretty lucky, one woman was hospitalised on Sunday when a motorcycle cop ran over her legs.
Fired up by a significantly increased police presence and an even greater resolve to tell the world that "capitalism sucks", the crowd snaked around causing some hefty traffic chaos, before making a b-line to where the World Bankers were holed up. A heavily armed police line blocked them at James Monroe Park on the corner of 20th and one. The crowd tried to force their way through, teenage girls on the frontline were beaten down with clubs and CS sprayed at point blank range. The SQUALL militia endured a minor scuffle with DC's finest before an unmasked sergeant appeared to diffuse the situation. "Hey, it's you guys from England. I mighta known you'd be here." It was Palanski, an affable asshole we'd tussled with on the barricades a few days previous.
Attempts to vault the line were met with similar thuggery. Unidentifiable cops were hounded with chants of: "Put your badges on".
Undeterred in their quest for arrest and the opportunity to join Jane Fonda and her anti-Vietnam line-crossers in the jailhouse of righteousness, around six hundred of the gathered mass struck a deal with a reluctant police chief to arrest them. Assorted Europeans had some difficulty getting their heads around the concept of jail cell solidarity, but an extra dozen school busses of people to process, no doubt clogs the system. Reports from the inside are saying that ninety per cent of those arrested are being carried into court limp and being arraigned as John/Jane Does (ie no names, no compliance).
"I spent twelve hours with my hands plastic cuffed to my fucking ankles," said Jay Hope, an activist from Texas who was arrested at the Mumia rally on Sunday and had only just been released. "No water, no attorney, lots of bullshit. It sucked."
Hope said police came into his cell and asked: "Right who's got money and who hasn't? Those who could afford the fifty dollar, effective caution, fee walked. The rest stayed and went to court. Justice - it ain't free in America.
By late afternoon the donut-munchers were starting to pick off scattered Blac Blockers sheltering from the rain. Now, it would appear, you don't just need a black face to get fucked over by the forces of law and order in the US, black clothing will do.
As well as police, activists were seriously hindered by the corporate media circus that has expanded with cancer-like growth over the last few days. "Can you put your umbrellas down," shouted ABC's representative at a bedraggled sit down crew. "The media can't see the action." The words Fuck and Off came firing back from several corners.
As night falls in the tumor that is Washington small actions are still going off in a variety of locations. Police, Fed spooks and FCC (radio licencers) who came to bust a pirate station that's been broadcasting during the protests, were given five minutes to leave the scene by a 400 strong posse of activists that arrived as they were about to grab the gear. They got in their cars and went.
The success of the actions has been debatable, with both cops and the mobilisation organisers claiming victory. Like the WTO in Seattle, these two machines of global greed [World Bank & IMF] have at last been dragged from under their stones. The light is on them, their response is talk of reform. There is no room for reform. It's time to burn the fucking temples down.
Capitals Ills - free to view online - a documentary filmed on the streets of Washington DC during the WB/IMF demonstrations, featuring Si Mitchell. (Guerillavision, 2001)
Washington DC 15-04-00 - Cracked Heads And Crack Troops On The Streets Of DC - 15-April-2000
Washington DC 16-04-00 - Black Blockades In Babylon - 16-April-2000
BATTLE FOR SEATTLE 1 - report from the streets of Seattle - Dec-1999
BATTLE FOR SEATTLE 2 - 2nd report from the streets of Seattle - 06-Dec-1999