Protesters, police clash near IMF meetings in DC
Agence France-Presse
Published: Saturday April 25, 2009

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WASHINGTON (AFP) Seven people were arrested near the International Monetary Fund's Washington headquarters on Saturday as they tried to stop meetings taking place inside, police said.

"Six people were detained for vandalism offenses and a seventh was detained for assaulting a police officer," Washington police spokesman Quentin Peterson told AFP.

Two banks were attacked in disturbances that began early on Saturday morning and were aimed at disrupting the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Police did not offer an estimate for the number of people involved in the disturbances, but organizer David Combs of the the Global Justice Action group said protesters numbered 300. Local media put the figure at closer to 100.

"The aim of the protests was to express outrage at the IMF's long-standing (habit) of ignoring human rights and environmental concerns," Combs said.

Protesters carried banners berating the Bretton Woods institutions and calling for an end to capitalism.

They carried placards stating that "Capitalism is Crisis" and shouted slogans calling for the IMF to be shut down, before clashing with police.

Law enforcers had earlier announced road closures around the IMF -- which lies in central Washington, not far from the White House -- until Sunday when meetings are scheduled to conclude.

The World Bank on Saturday launched a 55-billion-dollar infrastructure investment program as part of efforts to help developing countries weather the worst global slump in decades.

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