Published on Sunday, April 2, 2000 by the Associated Press
With Seattle in Mind, Police Show Strength at New Jersey I.M.F. Rally
FLORHAM PARK, N.J., April 1 -- The police brought out
mounted patrols, dogs and metal
barricades today to prepare for a
protest against the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund by
many of the same people who led
destructive demonstrations last year
at the World Trade Organization
meetings in Seattle.
Billed in a news release as "picking up where Seattle left off," the rally outside a World Bank and I.M.F. conference here was expected to draw several hundred protesters, said organizers of the New Jersey/New York Mobilization for Global Justice.
They said the rally was a tuneup for a demonstration at meetings of the two economic groups on April 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C.
Organizers said they did not plan to disrupt the weekend meetings sponsored by the two groups and the Brookings Institution.
The protesters planned to rally at a barricaded parking lot next to the Hamilton Park Conference Center.
But two women who were part of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in December were arrested on Thursday after they unfurled a 40-foot banner from the top of the center, the police said.
The women, Lisa Kuhn, 19, of Salt Lake City and Judith Karpova, 54, of Hoboken, were charged with criminal trespassing, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools, the authorities said. The two used bolt cutters to cut the chain on a trap door to the roof of the hotel before unfurling the banner, which read "World Bank and IMF = Corporate Colonialism," the authorities said.
A rally organizer, Ted Glick, said the coalition did not advocate violence or civil disobedience, but "a number of us thought that was a nice action."
"Ultimately, we can't stop them," he said of groups who may decide to protest more forcefully.
The coalition blames the W.T.O., the World Bank and the I.M.F. for globalization of the world economy. The protesters believe that the World Bank and the I.M.F., charged with using international corporations to improve life in developing countries, instead throw the countries into debt while enriching corporations and degrading the environment.
About 100 people attending the conference are meeting to discuss the collapse of economies in Asia and its effect on developing countries. A World Bank spokesman, Andrew Kircher, said the bank had noticed a rising level of awareness of the meetings in the United States, especially since the Seattle protests.
More than 100 officers, some with horses and dogs, have been patrolling the conference center here since the conference began on Thursday, said Steven Foley, a spokesman for the Morris County prosecutor's office. The police put up barricades and first aid tents and videotaped protesters from a hotel window.
Mr. Foley described the police presence as precautionary, a reaction to the violence and destruction that paralyzed the Seattle sessions of the World Trade Organization. Those protests led to $2.5 million in damage, a state of emergency in the city and the arrests of 500 protesters.
Four protesters slept by the side of the road here on Thursday night, surrounded by signs with messages like "Break the Boomerang of Debt," and "Honk for Global Justice."
On Friday, mounted police officers and officials standing on the hotel roof with binoculars outnumbered the 20 or so protesters who marched from a teach-in on Drew University's campus about a mile away.
Copyright 2000 Associated Press