Police Arrest Protesters Blocking Traffic on Capitol Hill

By Michael E. Ruane and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 22, 2007; 11:28 AM

U.S. Capitol Police arrested dozens of protesters who blocked Independence Avenue for short intervals during rush hour this morning, part of a demonstration intended to voice a broad list of complaints about global warming, war and sexism.

Demonstrators from an amalgam of organizations sat down in the road about 8:15 a.m. near Independence and New Jersey avenues, arms and legs intertwined, snarling the usual line of Monday morning commuters.

Police reopened the street after arresting 26 people, prying them apart and dragging them face down to the sidewalk, where they were searched, handcuffed and loaded onto a waiting bus.

But a few minutes later, another small wave of demonstrators stepped onto the asphalt and blocked traffic again. Police took an additional dozen people into custody and reopened the street within about 30 minutes. Demonstrations continued on sidewalks and green spaces nearby, but had shrunk considerably by 10 a.m.

The protest -- involving an estimated 200 people at its peak -- was part of a series of disruptions and demonstrations that have taken place since Friday, the first day of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Earlier today, police arrested about a dozen people who were blocking the entrance of the Cannon House Office Building.

The group on Independence Avenue was part of a "No Warming, No War" protest, which combined an environmental agenda with an antiwar stand.

"War pollutes our democracy, sexism militarizes our bodies," read one protester's sign. Several protesters -- including some who were eventually arrested -- wore polar bear suits, a statement against global warming.

There was a person sporting a giant papier-m¿ch¿ likeness of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and another wearing a similarly oversized mask of President Bush. Yet another demonstrator lugged around an enormous cardboard windmill, erected on three bamboo poles.

The crowd chanted long-familiar street slogans such as "No justice, no peace," along with newer mantras like "Resistance is forming. No war, no warming."

As the police closed in, the demonstrators shouted, "Arrest Bush, not kids."

Across town, street closings remain in effect around the offices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund through 9 p.m. today. Pennsylvania Avenue NW is open to traffic, but 18th, 19th and 20th streets are closed south of Pennsylvania and north of G Street NW. G Street also is closed to traffic between 18th and 20th, D.C. traffic officials said.

Protest activities late last week led to small scuffles outside the World Bank on Saturday and an eruption of violence in Georgetown on Friday.

Staff writer Howard Schneider contributed to this report.

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