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Anti-Sweatshop Actions Spread
Protestors walking down street. Hand thrust in front of camera.

Video 1: Police drag protestors

Video 2: The protests from a participants view

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by Public WebWorks Staff

Police used tear gas, pepper spray and billy clubs on occasion, but most of Sunday's 7,000 to 10,000 protesters saw little violence at the April 16 demonstration in Washington D.C. against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Chanting and waving placards, protesters clogged roads and sidewalks around 20 city blocks. Even so, they failed to stop delegates from getting to their morning meetings, unlike the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle which was canceled.

The action began in a light drizzle before dawn as demonstrators deployed from Farragut Square and Washington Circle to converge on the blocks around the Pennsylvania Avenue offices of the international banking policymakers.

By noon, tear gas and pepper spray had been deployed in several small scale skirmishes. Officers were dressed in full riot gear, but many were not wearing badge numbers and other identification tags.

Police brass said their show of force was justified after confiscation of what they called the makings of a Molotov cocktail from one protester, and the use of homemade pepper spray by others.

However, four video crews for the Public WebWorks did not see any evidence that protesters were preparing to assault police. Indeed, police appeared to turn violent with no provocation at all.

Representatives of the newsmedia were among the injured, including an Associated Press photography who was knocked unconscious when police tossed him onto his head.

Many protesters displayed little grasp of the monetary policies which have brought such attention to World Bank and International Monetary Fund. But speakers at a rally on the Ellipse attempted to sharpen the message.

"The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have stumbled so often; have backed the wrong companies so often; have used their money pumps to back the wrong projects so often ...that they are now uniting both the progressive and conservatives," Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader said from a stage.

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