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    Friday, April 21, 2006

    World Bank / IMF Protests Begin - 3 report backs

    Halliburton, Bechtel office demos follow MGJ media stunt

    Following MGJ's media stunt in front of the IMF, protesters followed through on their promise to go after offices related to capitalist institutions working hand-in-hand with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    These protests are ongoing this afternoon, but we can report from the first two at Halliburton and Bechtel.

    A lot of people know about the loans that the World Bank hands out to nations; what a lot of people don't realize is that there's an arm of the World Bank known as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that gives money out directly to private corporations. If you search the IFC website, you will have trouble finding projects directly tied to Halliburton, and yet an IPS study has shown that Halliburton is a huge beneficiary of IFC money through roles as contractor, developer, or investor, especially – as should be obvious – in the oil industry.

    So, we went to Halliburton with flyers intending on educating the public and Halliburton's own employees. More than that, we went to confront Halliburton directly. Protesters entered Halliburton's offices on 18th Street between L and M and began shouting chants. Halliburton employees looked very disturbed inside their 2nd floor offices as the sound reverberated throughout the building. Flyers about the connections were scattered throughout.

    Outside, security immediately tried to lock the doors. One protester ready for that possibility kept the door open. When security tried to close the door, that protester held ground and refused to let him lock the protesters in. Another came to this person's aid. When the protest was ending, another protester seeing the situation at the door tried to run out. The security guard stuck his leg out successfully tripping the protester who fell out of the building hard onto the sidewalk. An onlooker who was shouting support for the protesters chastised the security guard for his violence. While the guard continued to try to keep people in the building, all protesters safely were able to leave. The onlooker approved and told us that we needed to come back very soon.

    We will be back.

    Successful, the protesters went on to Bechtel at 15th and K Street, across from McPherson Square. Bechtel is much more overt about its IFC money than is Halliburton. Ask the people of Bolivia about Bechtel's involvement in that country. A lot of people simply think of Halliburton and Bechtel as war profiteers, but the fact is they are simply profiteers who work with governments to produce profits for the rich in first world countries, sometimes helping to enrich corrupt puppet rulers in the Global South.

    At Bechtel, proesters took elevators up to the 7th floor without difficulty. The people inside Bechtel's offices were stunned to see protesters outside their offices. Protesters littered their floor with flyers explaining the corporate abuses of their corporate employers.

    Protesters left the building without facing difficulty.

    As mentioned, these protests are ongoing.

    In conjunction with MGJ's action citing the World Bank and IMF for health violations, and yesterday's disruption of Wolfowitz's press conference, they begin a weekend of direct action that will continue to grow in intensity. Protesters tonight, rain or shine, will be taking part in a critical mass at 6PM from Murrow Park across the street from the World Bank and then at 8PM will be departing for 7104 Pinehurst Parkway in Chevy Chase on the DC border at Western Avenue for a protest outside of Wolfowitz's home. Previous protests have led to reports that Wolfowitz was trying to sell his home BECAUSE of the protests. No one knows whether this is true, but regardless, the demand is for Paul Wolfowitz to resign immediately. We don't care where he lives so long as he stops displacing and killing thousands across the Global South.

    For more, see worldbank.activeresistance.org . See the full schedule of events at breakthebank.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/final-schedule-of-events/ .

    Report from sHell demo(#3)

    After Bechtel, our next target was Shell's corporate office at 1401 I st NW. By thgis time, things were getting pretty crazy. We saw a large convoy of cops go by without stopping a block away, and received an interesting report courtesy of bike messenger dispatch radio.

    The report was that a Black Bloc was going "from place to place" trying to lose the cops! We had not had any trouble with real cops, however private security goons were behaving.

    We decided to continue in action, and proceeded to sHell's office on I st. In remembrance of the Ogoni activists who were hanged in Nigeria for protesting sHell's destruction of their land, we entered the building. We intended to go up to protest in Shell's office itself, and decided to use a new strategy. We went to the guard desk posing as people who had business with sHell,but one mention of that company seemed to raise alarms.

    Sehe said someone from sHell would come down to speak with us, but we'd have to wait outside. Half believing her, we headed out-and then stormed back in!

    When the lobby guard said we needed to show ID if we wanted to go up to sHell's office, we started chanting and banging pots and pans. She was yelling franticly into the cellphone(as usual) while tryign to force us out. We continued for a few minutes, then exited sHell's building and escaped into the street.

    G7 protested!

    Today, after the Office Demos, a small contingent continued the protest after stumbling upon the G7 meetings at the St. Regis Hotel. After reassembling, activists stood on the sidewalk chanting as people exited their limos. Getting less than 8 feet away from the ministers, we made our point, loud and clear. After a few minutes of yelling a motorcycle cop tried to intervene, but without adequate knowledge of the law, he stepped down. He put up a fight, wouldn't give out his badge and accused us of breaking laws that don't exist, but in the end, we prevailed.

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