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On The Scene

Bob Franken: World Bank protests

Demonstrators say they will try to shut down Washington

CNN's Bob Franken
CNN's Bob Franken

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About 100 demonstrators rallied on Thursday, in a prelude to protests  of the annual IMF meetings in Washington.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- District of Columbia police arrested more than 200 protesters Friday as they demonstrated against a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Police say the protestors tried to block intersections and threw rocks and smoke bombs through windows at a bank. (Full story)

CNN Correspondent Bob Franken is covering the story and filed this report Friday morning.

FRANKEN: This is where the protesters would like to come, the IMF building in back of me, and the police are not letting them come. A short while ago, within about the last half hour, there were the arrests of about 60 people about seven blocks from here.

The police moved in after there were some skirmishes -- some reports of some incendiary devices, that type of thing, as the group was making its way toward this area. There were arrests. They were put on 2 1/2 of those buses. So it was a fairly large group of arrests.

The police promise they will match whatever law breaking they encounter as these protests go on.

Now, this is the day the demonstrators say they will try to shut down Washington, to block traffic. There was another series of arrests about nine blocks from here earlier, 21 arrested. Four had to be cut from chains that they had wrapped around themselves. They were sitting in an intersection, blocking things.

A police officer detains an IMF protester in downtown Washington.
A police officer detains an IMF protester in downtown Washington.

There was also an incident where somebody put some glue in one of the locks at a Metro station -- Metro being the subway here.

So what we have is a series of skirmishes, a massive police presence. As a matter of fact, here, just a short while ago in back of me, were two buses, two large buses. Suddenly, the police who were there put on their body armor, and they moved out to try and block the area several blocks from here, to make sure that the demonstrators were not able to get here, demonstrating against the finance ministers meeting of the International Money Fund in back of me and the World Bank.

The demonstrators are claiming their cause is that these organizations contribute to the Establishment around the world and make things worse for the poor people of the world. That is the demonstration issue.

Of course, the IMF and World Bank say the opposite is true, that they in fact help the poor of the world. The police say only they are not going to allow violence to impede the meeting.

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