This is a great account of the events that took place while I was in DC and while I was participating!!!
Detailed Chronology of the events of the October Rebellion.
Radicals of all stripes gathered at St. Stephenâs church and surrounding neighborhood in the Federal District last weekend for a series of workshops and actions related to the meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Workshops included legal and medical training to prepare low-risk participants to effectively keep tabs of those arrested and injured.
Actions began Friday afternoon with a rally in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office. Construction workers across the street took a healthy interest in the speeches made by organizers and the chants of the participants, which numbered 60 at least.
City police, equipped with motorcycles and minor crowd control gear, eventually told the demonstrators that they werenât allowed in the street while ICE security also forbid the demonstrators from standing on the area in front of their building. This resulted in the all-too-telling picture of dozens of activists expressing their âfree speechâ on a three-foot-wide expanse of sidewalk, harmlessly out of the way of the construction trucks delivering materials and the ICE workers re-entering the building after their lunch.
Protesters then marched for at least an hour, chanting and passing relevant buildings like the Fraternal Order of Police headquarters while blocking a good amount of inner-city traffic.
Friday night took a turn for the radical when an unpermitted march through Georgetown ended up with a teenage girlâs forehead bloodied by a brick hurled by a protester. Though much reported (relatively) in more mainstream forms of media, the incident was most likely unintentional; the girl was standing in front of a store and marchers had been tossing various things at store windows for a good part of the night. Despite reports to the contrary, no tear gas was used by the police (it was raining) and violent confrontation with the police was largely avoided, though demonstrators did overturn one police motorcycle.
It has been repeated by various creative sources that Georgetown was chosen because demonstrators could not access the downtown area due to heavy security. If such was the case, the amount of security downtown must have been known a considerable time beforehand, seeing as how Georgetown was the planned venue for Friday nightâs festivities for weeks, if not months, beforehand. The police also had enough time to construct barricades blocking several entrances to the district and to alert surrounding businesses to close early and board up their windows.
Instead of the result of tight security, Georgetown was chosen both practically and symbolically; the affluent area housed many of the rich and powerful heads of the IMF and World Bank and Georgetownâs relationship to other DC neighborhoods is a microcosm of the economic inequality that the IMF and World Bank create internationally.
Saturday afternoon witnessed the main event: a rally at Franklin park featuring performances from riot-folk artist Ryan Harvey, hip-hop artist Son of Nun, and others evolving into a march of at least 350 people to the IMF facilities. Graffiti of spray-paint and chalk was done flamboyantly in front of police lines, as was the stripping of a handful of protesters, which resulted in a brief half-nude dance party.
Later, when the IMF delegates arrived, protesters moved en masse to the entrance point and attempted to physically prevent their entrance. Over fifteen police then barreled down a barricaded side street, batons readied, and indiscriminately bludgeoned several protesters.
No one was critically injured, though a few participants shed blood with bitten-through lips and battered noses. After equilibrium established itself and a brief showdown with the cops ended, protesters backed off to witness a mock trial condemning the IMF and World Bank for their many egregious abuses. Numbers waned after the mock trial, as protesters trickled away to prepare for the night to come.
After the massive amounts of work done by organizers, medics, communications personnel, and other protesters alike, popular sentiment dictated that Saturday night be spent with a harmless dance party through Adams Morgan and a subsequent game of capture-the-flag in Dupont Circle. Direct actions were also encouraged for the post-party festivities, but the mood was generally one of jubilation, despite the heavy police presence around St. Stephenâs Church (done so, it was speculated, to tail activists to Saturday nightâs actions, which, unlike the other weekend activities, were unknown to police).
The October Rebellion drew mostly positive reactions from its participants, and though all activists would have liked to see a larger turnout, the actions of the weekend provided a necessary momentum into the subsequent No War, No Warming. Much was learned, tactically and otherwise, and discussed at the meetings after each action and in addition to throwing a bit of sand in the gears of the dominant neoliberal economic paradigm, most of the participants had a jolly-good time. Organizers and activists alike are now challenged with being better prepared on every level for the next IMF meeting in April.