Bailout Critics Likely to Join IMF/World Bank Protesters

By Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 24, 2009

As economic leaders begin IMF and World Bank meetings this weekend on the global economic crisis, dozens of people angry about the U.S. financial bailout are expected to join protesters.

Organizers have secured permits from the National Park Service and D.C. police for rallies. At 11:30 a.m. today at Meridian Hill Park in Northwest Washington, protesters will meet for a 5k Run on the Bank to Edward R. Murrow Park, across the street from the World Bank and 18th and H streets. The permit application for that event is for 75 people, said Bill Line, spokesman for the National Park Service.

On Sunday, hundreds of people are expected to converge on Dupont Circle starting about 1 p.m. for a rally, followed by a march to the park across from the World Bank. That permit is for 400 people, Line said.

Tomorrow afternoon, the People's Economic Summit on the crisis will be held at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church at 16th and Newton streets NW. Lacy MacAuley, an organizer with Global Justice Action, said many Americans are questioning the financial policies that led to the economic meltdown and want to voice their frustration about how the bailout is being handled.

Although organizers have secured permits for their events, they have not ruled out disruptive actions. On the Global Justice Action Web site, the event listing for tomorrow morning says: "Direct Actions -- disrupt the start of the IMF/World Bank meetings with blockades and unpermitted marches." D.C. police will heighten security around the downtown office buildings, and sick leave and days off for officers have been suspended over the weekend, which the police department refers to as "All Hands on Deck" staffing.

"We're ready," Assistant Chief Diane Groomes said.

IMF spokesman Bill Murray said, "We are taking our usual strong security precautions."

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