Byline: Jim Ostroff

WASHINGTON — Protesters bent on preventing world finance ministers from meeting in the nation’s capital and turning the downtown into chaos as they did in Seattle failed on both counts Monday in the face of thousands of riot-ready police.
Although there were skirmishes between the protesters and police, the meetings of ministers to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank went on as planned. There was concern by government officials that the events would bring about another Seattle situation, in which demonstrators caused the cancellation of most of the sessions of the World Trade Organization.
“One thing is clear: The protests in Seattle and Washington don’t appear to be having any impact on the WTO, the World Bank or the IMF” decision making, said Carlos Moore, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute’s executive vice president.
Erik Autor, the National Retail Federation’s vice president and trade counsel, said his reading of the protest is that it “really hasn’t shown any influence on the members” of Congress.
However, Autor does believe that peaceful demonstrations by union members — such as those held last week by UNITE and others against granting China permanent Normal Trade Relations — “do have some impact on the votes that are cast on trade issues.”