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Protests Kick Off With Early Morning Blockades

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
Mobilization Media Desk
APRIL 16, 2000, 9:15AM 202/789-5419, or 202/789-1684

MASS PROTESTS AGAINST WORLD BANK AND I.M.F. KICKS OFF WITH EARLY MORNING BLOCKADES AND NON-VIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
__________________________________________________________

EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE DAY FOCUS ON HARM CAUSED BY UNACCOUNTABLE INSTITUTION

WASHINGTON, DC, -- Thousands of peaceful protesters have taken to the streets, blockading key intersections in the vicinity of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as the opening day of the joint annual meetings of these institutions gets underway.

Police on motorcycles and on foot are out in force - many of whom are in riot gear. Thus far, there have been no initial reports of arrests and protesters are honoring their commitment to nonviolence. However, police have already been viewed using clubs and pepper spray to disperse people..

Rev. Douglas Hunt of the organization Witness for Peace, was among protesters who blocked a bus carrying delegates to the meeting on 17th St, by sitting down on the ground in front the bus. According to Rev. Hunt, one of the police escorts told the bus driver, “Back up over them if you have to."

"Today we are sending a loud and clear message to these unaccountable institutions that we hold them responsible for devastating the lives of poor people around the world in the name of globalization," said Chloe Frommer of the Mobilization for Global Justice. "We stand in solidarity with millions of people in the developing world who are demanding to take control of their lives out of the hands of the World Bank and IMF, and the powerful corporations that are calling the shots."

Reports are streaming in to the Mobilization Media Desk of incidents in the street. Reporters are encouraged to call for up to the minute update and interviews with activists in the streets. French, Japanese and Spanish interviews are available by calling the media desk.
EVENTS PLANNED FOR TODAY:

 11:00 A.M. -- MOBILIZATION FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE SPONSORS A MASS PROTEST RALLY AGAINST THE WORLD BANK AND IMF -- At the Ellipse on the National Mall, hosted by filmmaker Michael Moore.
 5:00 P.M. - MOBILIZATION FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE PRESS CONFERENCE -- The Ellipse on the National Mall. Individual interviews with speakers can be conducted in the tent near the stage.

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