Anti-globalization campaigners are holding a training camp for protesters wishing to disrupt the IMF/World Bank summit in Washington next month, which it is estimated will attract up to 100,000 demonstrators.
The Ruckus Society, of which the Body Shop founder Anita Roddick is a director, is holding the five-day camp at a farm about 30 miles from Washington. Participants will be trained in techniques such as forming blockades, scaling buildings and chaining themselves to barriers. The group says it offers an "unprecedented opportunity for activists and organizers to prepare for inspiring non-violent direct action against the globalization of racism, imperialism, economic inequity and environmental degradation".
The organization holds several camps a year. But after the demonstrations at the G8 summit in Genoa in July, at which a protester was shot dead, Ruckus believes the Washington protests will be extremely important for the anti-globalisation movement.
Barry Humpkius of Washington protests against the disclosure policies of the World Bank during a Mobilization for Global Justice demonstration in front of World Bank headquarters in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2001. The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that protesters planning demonstrations next month are misrepresenting what the money-lending IMF and World Bank do. (AP Photo/Kamenko Pajic)
Han Shan, the program director for the California-based group, said: "I just think we are really going to be under such a spotlight as a movement. I hope the police will also be under that spotlight. We have seen chaos on the streets and things that did not make us look good." He said that in addition to the nonviolent disruption tactics, which includes the monitoring of police communications using scanners, demonstrators would take part in political workshops at the camp, to be held from 14 to 18 September. The workshops will discuss the anti-globalisation message which Ruckus hopes to spread to the American public by focusing on the domestic repercussions of globalization, such as recent job losses in the car manufacturing industry.
While Ruckus, which was central to the disruption which helped to stall the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999, says it is committed to nonviolent protest, its intention to create a forceful presence at the IMF/World Bank summit will not please the Washington police. The force is expecting up to 100,000 demonstrators at the summit, held over the weekend of 29-30 September, and estimates the cost of policing the event will be $29m. The federal government has said it will reimburse the city with up to $16m of the security costs. The city authority has said it might ask both the World Bank and the IMF to contribute, though the organizations have indicated they will not pay. About $11m of the federal funds will go to transport, house, feed and pay more than 3,000 law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions who will be brought in to virtually double the city's force. The Secret Service is to pay for a $2m, 9ft concrete and metal fence which will be used to create a security zone around the IMF and World Bank headquarters and the White House.
The threat of disruption forced the two organizations to cut the summit from a week to just two days. While this has reduced the security costs, it also is a blow to many of the capital's businesses, which were depending on the custom of the expense-account delegates. Party planners, caterers, limousine companies, and restaurateurs say they will lose millions of dollars if diplomats and bankers cancel or downscale the dinners, receptions and social events they had planned.
© 2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd