WASHINGTON — The city of Washington has agreed to pay 13.7 million dollars to some 700 demonstrators and bystanders mistreated by police during demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 2000.

"We think it's an historic settlement. It's the largest settlement for a protest case in Washington D.C. and we believe in the country," Partnership for Civil Justice, which filed the class action lawsuit, said in a statement.

The settlement after nine years of legal action was signed Monday and needs to be confirmed by the courts in the coming months, Partnership spokeswoman Mara Verheyden-Hilliard told AFP on Tuesday.

Around 680 demonstrators and some unsuspecting tourists and reporters were arrested in April 2000 during World Bank and IMF meetings in the US capital. The marches followed similar protests during a World Trade Organization meeting months earlier in Seattle, Washington state.

"Some of them were held on a bus with their hands tied behind their back for up to 12 hours. They were denied food, water, people were not allowed to go to the bathroom. People on the bus would be forced to urinate on themselves," the spokeswoman said.

None of the people arrested were charged. Verheyden-Hilliard said the police action as a "mass false arrest."

Each member of the class action suit is to receive about 18,000 dollars in the settlement.