"It's not a big deal that the meetings have started," echoes Matthew Smucker, another organizer. "Last week no one knew what the World Bank is. Today, everyone does."
At 8:45 a bus tries to break the anarchist lines at 18th and E Streets. Dozens of people throw themselves on the ground in front of the bus. A score of riot cops escorting the bus drag bodies out of the bus's path, yanking anarchists away by their belts and underwear. (Anarchists wear boxers, not briefs, apparently.) The bus, nudging forward to the entrance, misses outstretched legs by inches.
Its path finally seems clear when one last guy flops down and simply will not be dragged out of the way. He seems superglued to the pavement. After 10 seconds, an eternity, Superglue Man is hauled aside, but his persistence has given other demonstrators time to block the passage. The bus driver gives up, reversing away as the demonstrators cheer and hug each other.
A young man next to me observes what no one else seemed to: The bus was empty. One of the day's slogans is: "No one in, no one out, that's what this line is all about!" When the meeting breaks late this afternoon, the anarchists will try to keep the world bankers imprisoned downtown. They couldn't stop the delegates from reaching their meeting, so now they are trying to stop them from leaving it. First they didn't want the meetings to start: Now they don't want the meetings to end.
Come to think of it, this latest tactic may be a sound one: If the World Bank and IMF are like every other bureaucracy--and all evidence suggests they are, only more so--the more they meet, the less they'll do. The protesters should keep them bottled up at their meetings for weeks: By the time the meetings end, the World Bank and IMF will have formed so many new subcommittees and commissioned so many pointless studies that the organizations will have castrated themselves.