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A20 Protest at IMF-WB Meeting Washington
two indymedia-reports

  1. 75-100,000 March Against Terror War
  2. 2: A20: Mehr als 100.000 gegen militärische und ökonomische Gewalt

1. Organizers Claim Largest Showing of Solidarity with Palestinians in U.S. History

by Andrew Kennis (w/help by John Tarleton & Zoe)
9:18pm Sat Apr 20 '02 (Modified on 7:40am Mon Apr 22 '02)
address: D.C. Independent Media Center - 2329
Champlain Street, Washington D.C. phone: (202)

Organizers of today's national mobilization proclaimed it to be the largest showing of solidarity with Palestinians in U.S. history. The 75,000-100,000 protesters touched on a wide array of issues, but the day's events were dominated by concerns about recent fighting in the West Bank and the future of Palestine.

Upwards of 75,000 people marched and rallied Saturday in downtown Washington D.C. for a number of causes including opposition to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Other themes included voicing dissent against the “war at home and abroad,” a reference to the war in Afghanistan and in Colombia, as well as problems with racism and discrimination against people of color (especially those of Arabic origin), and also to corporate globalization.

All three major themes were addressed in their own respective “feeder marches” in the morning, which joined together later in the afternoon at the “Mall,” the grassy park area between the Capital building, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

However, it was the fighting in the occupied territories of Palestine that captured the attention of the day and the protest was dubbed by organizers as the largest U.S showing of solidarity with Palestinians in U.S. history.

“I have been living in the U.S. for 25 years and I pay taxes, and I don't expect my money to go to killing my people,” explained Fatina, a Palestinian mother of four who brought her colorfully dressed children in traditional Palestinian garb along with her to today's protest. Fatina's sentiments were commonly shared by protesters from a diverse array of backgrounds, as Hajie Tunkara from the West African country of Gambia said “we want our tax dollars to be used wisely and instead, the U.S. is using our money to butcher Muslims in Palestine. Look at Jenin,” a reference to the refugee camp recently bulldozed and pillaged by the Israeli Defense Forces, resulting in dozens and maybe even hundreds of civilian Palestinian deaths (23 Israeli soldiers were also killed).

Besides the diversity of the marches, the sheer numbers of protesters was striking. While police put march estimates at around 75,000 people, organizers claimed that hundreds of thousands of protesters showed up in solidarity with the struggle against Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine's territories.

Indeed, groups from all over the country bussed themselves in overnight, tying up traffic around the city. Steve Gillis, 43, a steelworker from Boston told the Washington Post that he “saw hundreds of buses on the road. The rest stops were jammed all the way down.” The groups that packed the highways included “Chicago Direct Action Network,” “Women in Black for Peace and Justice” and the MIT based “Nerds against the War.”

There was a flurry of activity during the marches, which included drumming, chanting, marching, speeches, a punk rock band performing off a side walk, a slew of interviews taking place via independent media journalists, music performances (including a performance by relatives of victims of the Pentagon and WTC attacks, who are against an armed response), and Muslim prayer rituals.

In the midst of these activities and the diverse crowd that partook in them, a number of cross cultural exchanges took place. During mid-afternoon, an adolescent Palestinian boy was overheard explaining the plight of the Palestinians to two African-American D.C. residents that, "it's like the same thing as what the black South Africans were facing under apartheid man, it's like the same thing."

Earlier in the day, a group of orthodox Jews showed support for Palestinians, with Rabbi Osher Zelig Estreicher talking about how the teachings of the Torah explain why the occupation is morally wrong.

In addition to the Palestinian solidarity demonstration organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine, there two other “feeder marches” that joined up later in the afternoon at the mall. One was organized by the Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ), which stopped in front of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters. Rob Weissman from Essential Information, a group founded by Ralph Nader, pointed out that as a result of the global justice movement, the World Bank ended all “user fees” for education (or charges brought about by structural adjustment programs).

Local activists at the MGJ march also made connections between international and local strugles. Vanessa Dixon, one such local activist, charged that D.C. Mayor Williams supports privatization and public disinvestment in community programs such the city's only public hospital, which was recently closed. In the other “feeder” march, the National Youth and Student Coalition formed by Student Peace Action Network and the International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) coalition organized the “A20 Mobilization to Stop the War at Home and Abroad.” Protesters voiced opposition to the “Drug War” and the “War on Terror,” which they see as more of a means to maintain U.S. economic and military power around the world.

Demonstrators criticized these military adventures as resulting in human rights abuses roundly condemned by international human rights groups. In Colombia, for instance, the army and paramilitary forces have been widely accused of drug trafficking massacres and other human rights violations. Despite the presence of the two feeder marches, however, it was concern for the worsening conditions in Palestine that dominated the day's theme. “I want to see equality for the Palestinians,” stated Cathy Bentwood, the mother of a 14-year old son who accompanied her to the protest all the way from New Hampshire. Many others apparently wanted the same thing on a historic day that saw the largest public outpouring of support for Palestinians in U.S. history.

2. A20: Mehr als 100.000 gegen militärische und ökonomische Gewalt

von einige von vielen - 20.04.2002 01:11

Update:: In Washington nahmen an verschiedenen Märschen etwa 75.000 bis 100.000 Menschen teil. Trotz der harten Repression im Vorfeld blieb die Polizei am Samstag relativ friedlich. Auch in anderen Städten demonstrierten insgesamt mehrere 10.000. Die Aktionen gegen IWF und Weltbank laufen noch bis Montag.

Viele tausend Menschen werden in den nächsten Tagen in Washington erwartet, um gegen das dortige Treffen von IWF/Weltbank und deren Politik zu protestieren. Gestern begannen die 4 Tage Demonstrationen, direkte Aktionen, ziviler Ungehorsam und Konferenzen, bei denen Alternativen zum bestehenden erarbeitet werden sollen. Die Proteste werden weiterhin mit landesweiten -und auch weltweiten - Großdemonstrationen gegen Krieg , gegen die Nahostpolitik, gegen den Plan Colombia und die School Of Americas, einer US-Militäreinrichtung, in der Diktatoren, Paramilitärs und Folterer für ihre Einsätze in Lateinamerika ausgebildet werden. Ziel derAktionstage um den 20.April ist es auch, die verschiedenen Proteste zusammenzuführen.

Bereits im Vorfeld wurde mit Repressionen gegen die Vorbereitungen agiert. So wurde die Behauptung aufgestellt, dass die Demonstranten extrem gewalttätig seien und auch Bomben einsetzen könnten. Dabei soll besonders auf Leute, die Fotos, Videos oder Notizen machen(!) geachtet werden. Überall in den USA werden Menschen daran gehindert, nach Washington zu kommen.

Gestern wurden bereits bei einer ersten Aktion viele Menschen festgenommen.

A20 Reports | Palestine