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Up to Date coverage of DC Events

As events unfold in DC during April 20-22 CIMC will try to keep you informed with the most up to date information we can get our hands on. If you are on the ground in DC, or if you know of important related stories from other news sources, post your reports or a link as a comment at the bottom of this story. Keep monitoring CIMC and DC Indymedia throughout the weekend for updates on the protests.
Chicago Activist reports from Street

16:04 Chicago activist Andy Thayer, a member of the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism (CCAWR) and the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, reports via cell phone from the Mall, where protesters are gathering and waiting for the closing rally to begin. Reports of organizer estimates he has heard place the number of people in the combined marches at 50,000. CCAWR sent four buses from Chicago, while the Chicago Muslim and Arab-American community sent an additional four buses.

According to Thayer the focus of today's protests has been heavily geared toward solidarity with Palestine, and opposition to U.S. support of Israel and its war against Palestine. Among the protesters is a large Palestinian contingent. Opposition to Bush's war on terrorism and to the government's assault on civil liberties have also been central themes.

Joining the march organized by A.N.S.W.E.R., Thayer spoke to the crowd as it paused in front of the Justice Department this morning. He talked about the case of Rabih Haddad, the Islamic community leader who has been jailed in Chicago since last December, with no criminal charges filed against him. Haddad is a founder of Global Relief Fund, an Islamic charity that has had its assets frozen under suspicion of links to terrorism. Thayer, who has been active in organizing to gain Haddad's release, said that this case is indicative of the federal government's current crackdown on the rights of political and community groups to organize without threat of surveillence and legal prosecution.

Thayer says he spoke to a group of Palestinian protesters from Detroit, who reported that upon checking into their DC hotel this morning they were paid a visit by Secret Service agents. When they demanded an apology for this incursion, the agents reportedly said, "We can do whatever the hell we want."

While no observations of police violence or arrests have been observed today, Thayer noted that police are videotaping protesters heavily, with no effort to conceal this surveillence. They are "taking advantage of the post-911 environment" to engage in this sort of intimidation tactic, Thayer said.

Thayer noted that these marches represent the "first time in over a decade" that antiwar groups from all over the country have bridged political differences to unite against government militarism and repression.

Mainstream media weighs in

15:22 CNN has filed its story on the protests, reporting "no confrontations or arrests" even though the events have not ended. The U.S. Park Police Chief is quoted as saying that the protesters have "been very well organized...respecting the fences that have been put up to help their movement."

Merge at the National Mall

15:20 Antiwar, anti-IMF/WB, and Palestinian solidarity marches have linked up and are headed for the Mall. A reporter for Free Radio Burlington reports "tens of thousands" of people in the street.

15:00 Report from Chicago DAN Activists

The main marches have converged on the grassy front lawn of the Capital. The diverse mass of people advanced down Pennsylvania Ave. The crowd included anti-neo-liberal globalization activists, SOA watch supporters, and a huge contigent of Palestinian supporters.

Chicago DAN activists report that the crowd is the most diverse group they have seen to date at any anti-war or anti-corporate globalization protest. There are people of all ages, races and pursuations. Many people have come with their whole families.

The police report that up to 30,000 people are still filing into the National Mall. DAN activists say they have seen thousands with at least 700 Chicagoans who have made the trip on planes, trains and buses.

As of this addition, everything is peaceful and the vibe is going strong.

IMF/WB protest at Murrow Park

13:21 Palestinian solidarity march, which began at the Washington Hilton, has met up with the IMF/WB protests outside IMF/WB headquarters in Murrow Park. Reports are that a few thousand people are there. The group will soon begin its trek to Freedom Plaza to converge with other DC marches. There are reports that the police are uses bikes and motorcyles to split up groups as an intimidation tactic. There are no reports of arrests.

12:20 Free Radio Burlington reports that police are using "divide and contain" tactics, splitting parts of the march off from one another with lines of motorcycles. This sounds similar to tactics used by the NYPD at the anti-WEF protests in February.

10:30 About 200 people and increasing Rain Forest Network has inflated a giant 35-foot Earth ballon with the motto ''For sale?'' and ``Citi lives richly and the Earth pays'' on the other. There are several drum circles. Police just observing. cops just standing around with their riot gear to the side. (Brian Long)

March on Washington to Stop War at home and Abroad

11:20 Rally has started reporter is on the outskirts of rally. Witnesses report undercover cops targeting people with things to sell or give away. Police ar edemanding activist hand over items. There are 10,000 people (Tom Rainey)



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