The first direct action against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2002 was conducted early on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 25, as delegates were being snuck into the organizations’ annual meetings at the World Bank building.

The “Adopt an Intersection” action was the result of the collaboration between the DC-based Mobilization for Global Justice and the September Action Coalition. The action, involving groups blockading intersections around the Mayflower Hotel, at first seemed to be over before it began. At 5am, the second affinity group arrived to find the first surrounded by police, with one member having been hit by a squad car and arrested. Those present decided to use the concentration of law enforcement in one place to their advantage, and set out to block other intersections as more
people arrived.

The World Bank and IMF work with developing nations, in theory, to improve the infrastructure of their economies. However, such deals often result in impoverished populations being landed with unmanageable debt, due to corrupt politics and corporate priority. As a result, the organizations have attracted large protests around the world. Since the massive direct action in April 2000, in which 30,000 people clogged the streets of Washington, DC, however, similar efforts, such as the “People’s Strike” in September 2002, have been plagued by small turnouts and massive police crackdowns.

After the initial arrest on Sunday, police presence was benign. However, in the early moments of the action, one protester was intentionally hit by a civilian van and carried for eight blocks on the hood of the vehicle at high speed. He survived without injury, and plans to pursue criminal charges.

When shuttle buses couldn’t get through, private security began escorting delegates to cars, which were also prevented from leaving the scene. Some delegates decided to brave the short walk to the building, often guarded by police.

Around 9am, it seemed that most of the delegates had gotten out of the hotel, and protesters dispersed. As several intersections had been held for almost four hours and the meetings, which were scheduled to begin at 8am, had been significantly delayed, the action was deemed by many to be a success.