WASHINGTON – More than 500 protesters were arrested Friday morning for attempting to shut down the nation's capital as World Bank and International Monetary Fund ministers held meetings on global economic development.
The protesters chained themselves together, set tires on fire and harassed police with false 911 calls. There was one report of a minor injury of a protesters, Metro police chief Charles Ramsey said.
"It's still early. We've got a long way to go," Ramsey said, adding that so far there has been little property damage and few traffic disruptions.
Around eight in the morning, about 500 protesters gathered in downtown Washington to start a march toward the World Bank. They went down one street, realized they were going the wrong way and when they tried to double back, police were waiting for them.
One unidentified protester threw a rock through a Citibank building window and another set off a smoke flare. At that point, police took action, shoving and pushing protesters to hem them in so they could start handcuffing demonstrators. About 300 people were arrested.
The rest of the protesters scattered into the city streets.
Some of those being arrested chanted, "This is not a police state, we have a right to demonstrate," while others shouted, "I do not consent to be searched."
Ramsey said many of the protesters will be charged with rioting, which generally carries a fine. Others will be charged with parading or demonstrating without a permit, also a minor misdemeanor.
Later, police contained about 100 protesters a few blocks away from the White House. President Bush was not in town on Friday.
And at another demonstration, about 200 protesters were arrested for "failure to obey" police orders demanding they stop blocking the city streets.
Demonstrators are in town to protest everything from globalization to the Gap as World Bank and IMF officials meet to discuss trade and development in underdeveloped regions of the world. Guests and staff attending the discussions were taken by bus with police escorts to the World Bank and IMF buildings, which are surrounded by fences on all sides.
Protesters had scheduled several demonstrations for Friday, including a "die-in" to protest a possible war with Iraq and a striptease against the Gap. Protesters were expected to undress as a symbolic gesture that they would rather go naked than wear Gap clothing, although their beef with the Gap has not been fully explained.
Earlier in the morning, about 21 protesters were arrested after they chained themselves together in a busy downtown intersection, jamming morning commuter traffic. However, the jam had been limited since police warned local commuters to take alternative routes and transportation methods.
None of the protesters have bothered to obtain permits, so the police -- including reinforcements from out of town -- can expect to make many more arrests before the weekend is out.
Among the more egregious forms of protest were calls to emergency numbers meant to tie up emergency services.
"It's another protester tactic," Officer Tony O'Leary, a police spokesman, said of the calls. "It's something we're prepared for."
U.S. Park Police were putting extra emphasis on protecting Washington's monuments during the three-day protest. Officers stood guard outside the Lincoln Memorial and a fleet of tow trucks assembled at the base of the Washington Monument, ready to move any obstructions brought by protesters.
City employees carted away newspaper machines and garbage cans to prevent them from being used as projectiles.
In April 2000, police arrested about 1,300 people during similar but generally peaceful demonstrations.
Fox News' Brian Wilson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.