Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

MPD Prepares GU Area for April Protests

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission, in conjunction with the etropolitan Police Department, has begun preparing for potential violence and terrorism that could result from protests scheduled to take place in downtown Washington next weekend.

Several thousand members of activist groups, including the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, the anti-war and anti-racism group International ANSWER and Mobilization for Global Justice – which two years ago organized a demonstration against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank – are expected to converge downtown.

The protests will be directed against various issues, including globalization, American support for Israel and America’s war on terrorism.

Although no permits have been issued for protests in the Georgetown area, MPD Lieutenant Brian Bray said that the police department is prepared in case the protest spreads to Georgetown.

According to Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Justin Wagner (COL ’03), protestors vandalized Georgetown area stores during an IMF protest last year. With the expected turnout for this year’s protests in the thousands, there is a substantial need for police protection in the neighborhood, Wagner said.

“It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that we’ll have incidents,” he said.

Bray added that protests have escalated out of control in other cities and the Georgetown area could be a “possible target” should violence erupt. “They may very well come up to Georgetown and break some windows out,” he said.

“We have to be prepared in case we end up like Seattle,” Bray said, noting that the MPD has civil disturbance platoons and a rapid reaction force prepared.

Wagner said that the ANC began planning for the protests two months ago and has worked with local police to make sure the Georgetown area is prepared. Much of the work consists of informing residents of the situation, according to Wagner.

“We tried to get the word out to the local constituency about what’s going on,” he said.

Both Wagner and Bray cautioned against traveling in downtown D.C. during the protests. “This really isn’t a spectator event,” Wagner said. “You really want to avoid downtown if you’re not protesting.”

Bray agreed. “I wouldn’t travel downtown,” he said.

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