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OTHER WTO VOICES
December 4th, 1999 by Clark Humphrey

AT THE END OF WACKY WTO WEEK, the situation’s still as strange as it’s been.

Here, some other views.

  • “I just know they’re going to turn the bandana face-mask thing and the black hooded-jacket thing into next year’s hot fashion. Either that or those heavy cop boots.”
  • “I saw some French protesters. Did you know the French acronym for WTO is ‘OMC’? Just like the band that did ‘How Bizzare.'”
  • “Do you think the police action was just a dress rehearsal for the expected Y2K riots?”
  • “I loved the Sea Turtle costumes. They were teenage mutant turtles. Too bad they weren’t ninja.”
  • “There were probably more Africans inside the WTO conference than there were African Americans in the protests.” “Yeah, but if you were a black kid, would you voluntarily place yourself in the cops’ gunsights?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte Quinn writes:

“Why is everyone suddenly feeling so sorry for The Gap and poor Nike Town? I think the violation of the protesters’ right of freedom to peacefully assemble is a larger issue than the WTO, and even the stupid windows of downtown being broken. I think the Seattle politicians have wrongfully decided to put the interests of the WTO over our right to peacefully assemble, and I am outraged. Seattle was declared in a state of emergency (because of the broken windows by a few protesters–yes, I call them that).

“These few glass breakers were yelled at and deterred by the WTO protesters. Immediately, after a window was broken the other protesters would step in and chant ‘no violence,’ or try to stop them. The police were just not there. I repeat: The police were not there. There just weren’t enough of them that first day.

“That was the mistake of the police. Nothing other than sheer stupidity on the part of Norm Stamper, who probably said, ‘We don’t need anyone else to run our streets. Well, on Tuesday you did, Norm. So guess what happens?

“Seattle is declared to be in a state of emergency because a few windows were broken. The police go hardline. the armed guard is called in, and everything goes haywire. the idiot police tear gas innocent people, and a no-protest zone is declared, the state of emergency effectively

curtails ALL protests outside the convention center, and any other place our peaceful demonstration might be effective.

“On Day 2, we are told gas masks are illegal to buy, sell or possess within Seattle City limits. Oh perfect. We can’t even protest your new weird laws, you’ll tear-gas us to death!

“I was at the protest at the jail, and I was joined by people who were protesting police

brutality. The steelworkers held a peaceful rally, and protesters left them to walk downtown, they were tear-gassed and beaten. Then the steelworkers who stayed were tear gassed.

“I had missed the eve of Day 2, the Capitol Hill incident–stories I can’t even believe. Police just completely tear-gassing, shooting and beating hundreds of non-protesters for just existing!

“People are really angry that there is a curfew imposed, people here are outraged that there is a ‘no-protest zone,’ and people are ALL saying that the police have over-reacted. This

is, I can’t emphasize this enough, a peaceful demonstration. The cops are attacking peaceful people! Over and over again.

“Day 3: Police chief Norm Stamper comes on TV saying he never said the term ‘No Protest Zone;’ that it was something the press made up. KOMO-TV anchor Kathy Georzten cuts to several incidents where the police are saying to protesters, ‘You can’t go through here, this is a no protest zone.’ A rare sight of media pointing a finger at the government.

“Then the Mayor appologizes, sort of. The citizens of Capitol Hill are not all poor; some of them are very affluent and they are outraged the police brutality has come up here.

Things changed after the Capitol Hill incident. The ACLU started talking about a suit against the city. We had no tear gas at the jail; a couple Seattle City Council members showed up to talk; the mayor even negotiated with the protesters. I went there, sure I would be tear-gassed, and was shocked that I wasn’t.

“Still, I want to know why I can’t protest in your ‘no-protest zone’ if that’s not what you call it, Mr. Stamper. We are protesting the WTO and excercising our right to assemble peacefully. You try and stop us and you will lose, if not here, then in the courts.”

WTO SOURCES (most-recently-added first):

MONDAY: We hope to go lighter and discuss a proposed Pacific Northwest theme park.


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