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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    IMF Soccer Riot - all too brief a report

    another report of my experiences...

    Just some very basic info: (even for this length, there were a lot more newsworthy items of interest)

    IMF Soccer Riot targeted the Fairmont Hotel with activists showing up around 3 AM and converging at the 24th and M Street location at about 3:30
    AM.

    Activists blocked off both ends of the block on 24th Street in front of the hotel and played soccer in the streets for more than 10 minutes before police finally arrived and then at first did little to stop anything. There were also a large number of air horns and chants and some very angry and aggressive security at the Fairmont. People woke up and looked outside their windows. It was extremely loud.

    Based on a list obtained from police themselves, we knew they were at the Fairmont; we had further confirmed that by the action the night before where delegates had actually been seen.

    All the ins and outs and ups and downs with police will have to wait for a full report; so much happened on that account. I know of only one arrest for an activist who was holding a broom, and the police arrested him for not wanting to give up that broom.

    Police were very aggressive and did a lot of illegal things, everything from shoving activists and throwing them to the ground without provocation to simple things like refusing to give badge numbers repeatedly to forcing activists standing around doing nothing to move at random for no reason. It is not lawful for the police to force people to obey orders when they themselves are not doing anything unlawful. Police went at times from threatening to sedate to aggressive to disciplined to out-of-control. At points, hundreds of police converged.

    But, this is not about the police; this is about the delegates, whom we were able to disturb and in some cases disrupt in multiple ways.

    The action outside the Fairmont continued nonstop with energy until after 7AM. This gave activists a chance to confront very tired delegates directly entering their vans. (Again, I've left out an awful lot of great action).

    Another very small group broke off after most had dispersed and went to the Washington Marriott. There they stopped a delegate van from leaving for over 10 minutes as they screamed at delegates who were clearly disturbed by their inability to get to the meetings. The bus was wedged in to a parking spot sticking into the road.

    After facing near arrest there, those activists left for another hotel to find another small group facing police harrassment being followed by motorcycle police who were within inches of them trying to force them along a sidewalk. The original set of activists at the Marriott returned
    to the Marriott and confronted other car and bus loads of delegates, often getting right into the door and screaming at the delegates who were feet and if outside inches away. Some other people at the Marriott got very upset with the activists but were ignored. Security called in police and again several dozen police on motorcycles surrounded these activists and forced them from positions on the public sidewalk. Along the road, another had offered activists 3 warnings for something that was inaudible. The activists left safely; however, and within a block, the police left
    them all to themselves.

    So, they went to the Lombardy, another scene of action from last night, and screamed some more at the hotel before heading toward the new IMF building at 19th and Pennsylvania. There, hundreds of delegates waited in line to go through security. This group descended on their line and were standing right next to them and yelled things like, "Murderers not welcome here!" Police quickly acted to move the delegates inside their barriers, rushing about half of them to another security checkpoint. Police (here MPD and Secret Service) did nothing to stop the activists who continued screaming at hundreds of IMF delegates for the next 20-30 minutes, mere feet away.

    The actions, in the end, proved more disruptive than Adopt-an-Intersection in September with a similar number of people as those direct actions. This group of people was much better trained in affinity group behavior and were very committed to the goal of disruption of some of the delegates to inspire empowerment and to encourage the need for much better planning so that this kind of direct action can be more effective on a larger scale in the future.

    This is only the shadow of a report. I hope others can come from this and all the actions. There was a lot more to the street march and confrontation of hotels where delegates stayed.

    Again, there was one arrest, and hopefully people can share any jail support that can be done.

    Actions against the World Bank and IMF as well as the military industrial complex and economic system that glues it all together will be ongoing in Washington, DC this week and next week and beyond.

    We'll be back.

    2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hey,
    sorry had to leave and couldnt make it to the actual protests. but it sounds like it was a success. thanks to you and everyone for making me feel welcome, and letting me learn a thing or two.

    -Bry

    4/24/06, 6:06 PM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    Thanks Bry. If you are around, you should check out the sorts of things we work on every single week.

    4/26/06, 7:51 AM  

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