No anti-capitalist protest is too tiny for The Washington Post. Reporter David Montgomery reported that on early Saturday, eight people were arrested at a northwest Washington hotel while protesting a meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, one of them for "felony assault of a police officer." That was too tiny to make the Sunday newspaper.
But the mere plan of protests by this tiny band dominated the front page of Saturday's Style section, complete with a picture of more than 50 square inches and a huge headline: "Bank protest" in red letters and "No loss for words" in black. The caption promised "A series of demonstrations called 'Anticapitalathon' -- including a 5K run and a scavenger hunt -- will be held this weekend". They promised a full story on C-2 inside. The fun run was for destroying economic freedom:
On Friday, the protesters used MapMyRun.com to devise a race route that was exactly five kilometers.
"Why are we running?" apprentice farmer Molly Adelstein, 28, asked three dozen young people in Meridian Hill Park on Friday afternoon, as she led them through stretches drawn from the yoga sun salutation.
"To destroy capitalism," came the answer from one lanky runner in black shorts and shirt.
There was another color photo of their "Run on the Bank" on C2. Montgomery promoted this dinky event as somehow filling the "psychic space" left by much larger tea-party events:
April is when the bank and the fund have their spring meetings, and Washington fills with limos and motorcades as diplomats pack the poshest hotels. It's all a fat target for a traveling circus of protesters, who roll into town to fill the psychic space recently vacated by those other carnivals, the tea partiers and the gun activists.
It's obviously not that fat a target if you can't fill a classroom with attendance. The story becomes amusing, if the reader can get past Montgomery's eagerness to serve as a publicist for Friday's lame events:
A coalition convened by a group archly dubbing itself the Self Described Anarchist Collective came up with the three-day "Anticapitalathon": a spoof on corporate sports -- and subsidized stadiums, like Washington's ballpark -- to liven up the old arguments.
Only two dozen protesters ran the 5K. They had a permit for 200, counting runners and rallyers. They hope for 300 participants over the weekend. The rules of their "convergence space" in Takoma, where meals and workshops take place, include: "No oppressive behavior . . . No snitching . . . Don't be a jackass in the neighborhood, save that for downtown."
As the runners jogged toward Dupont Circle, they chanted "[Expletive] the bank, [expletive] the bank!"
A hotel doorman joined the chorus: "[Expletive] the bank!"
"The IMF is robbing Africa," explained Kaleb Dawit, the doorman, who is of Ethiopian heritage.
Other bystanders were less sympathetic. "I think it's bloody ridiculous," said Bill Raushelbach, who used to run the Golden Ox restaurant downtown.
Fifteen cops followed the protesters around on an "Anticapitalathon Walking Tour," and Montgomery ended the story with the cop in charge planning to follow this tiny gang to "anarchist soccer at 10." Talk about wasted taxpayer money.