D.C. Police Practice Peacekeeping

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 13: Actor Brad Pitt (L) and President and CEO of Global Green USA Matt Petersen (R) attend a press conference during a trip to lobby government officials to increase the speed of re-construction on July 13, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Pitt and Global Green USA created a sustainable design architecture competition to showcase affordable, energy-efficient construction. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Mark Mainz
By all accounts, protesters outside last December's meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle simply got the better of police.

As CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports, by the time damages were totaled up, the city had lost $2.5 million in actual destruction and businessmen like Tom Wilbur lost thousands more in potential sales.

"We had a police force that was under-manned, under-equipped and over-powered," said Wilbur, produce company manager.

Police say as a result, the protesters now feel emboldened. They've been practicing urban assault techniques ever since Seattle in anticipation of the next big event, the International Monetary Fund meeting next week in Washington where they'll protest what they call "corporate globalization."

And as accustomed as the Washington police are to mass demonstrations, they're preparing for the worst.

Police Chief Charles Ramsey said, "Potentially it could be a huge problem depending on the number of people who show up and what their intentions are."

An estimated 40,000 showed up in Seattle but police don't expect that many in Washington. They do expect massive traffic tie-ups with subway stops and intersections as the key targets as protesters try to shut down IMF headquarters and the World Bank, just two blocks from the White House. But they say they don't expect the rowdiness and window-breaking that went on in Seattle.

Read past CBSNews.com articles on the protests in Seattle:
  • Encounter In Seattle
  • Shock Waves From Seattle
  • Seattle Police Chief Steps Down
  • "I think non-violence is the only way to go. We are actually concerned about violence. We are against violence," said Han Shan, protest leader.

    And for their part, Washington police seem prepared to accept some level of civil disobedience.

    "They have a right to demonstrate, but IMF and the World Bank have a right to hold a meeting. And our job is to see that each can go about their business," said Ramsey.

    In Seattle the protesters succeeded in shutting down that business but that was largely because police were caught by surprise. This time around, both sides seem to know exactly what the other is up to.