On the 18th of April, the World Bank Group staged the “Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day” concert, with Fallout boy headlining. This concert was during their Spring Meetings, and in spite of an increase in overall World Bank investments in fossil fuels. Global justice activists set up in front of the main bag search checkpoint and some went inside to hand out hundreds of fliers contrasting the message of the show with the World Bank Group’s actual record.
Security was insane for a rock concert. The concert site was surrounded by fences, police dogs and even automatic rifles were spotted by scout teams. In some places the fence was a double layer with cops and dogs in “no man’s land” in between. The “prohibited list” included bicyles and “unmanned aerial systems” meaning drones. Drones are becoming popular with some videographers and in dense crowds are hazards, though nowhere near to the extent that US government drones are in the rest of the world. Curiously, MANNED aerial systems such as gyrocopters didn’t make the list. The side of the perimeter and number of cops reminded me of IMF protests from 2000 to 2002, sort of like “A16/2000” in reverse.
The fliers distributed to concertgoers correctly assumed they had been told nothing about the true work of the IMF and World Bank, and mentioned that 15 years ago tens of thousands of people fought in the streets in the “A16” protests against the IMF and World Bank. Photos of both the protesters and the armored cops from that event were included in the flier. Some recipients said they felt used by the World Bank as a result.
Beyond the World Bank Group, other sponsors of what could have been called “Global Bad Citizen 2015” included Caterpiller, Citigroup, and Toyota.