The Seattle Protests - A Report From The Front LInesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Here is a report from Seattle on the Seattle Protests from someone that was there. It was a very remarkable day with most of us protestors dedicating ourselves to the the principles of NON VIOLENCE like as did Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau. We were here protesting the WTO on issues relating to the Environment, Labor Issues, Child Labor Practices, Etc. There were 40,000 or 50,000 plus, of all ages and from all over the country and other countries like Canada, France, India, Mexico, Etc. Some of the main organizations that was there were from the AFL-CYO, The American Steelworkers Union, The Sierra Club, The Friends of the Earth, Etc. Most of us was there for most of the day from the early morning to the end of the day when we broke up and went our individual ways at about 4 to 5 PM when it stated getting dark. Most of us when protesting sat in front of the police lines or formed a line in front of the police in a non violent way. In some places we had a human chain to block some of the people participating in the WTO to try to disrupt the event in a peaceful way. It was interesting that a number of the delegates and them that were participating in the WTO event were VERY RUDE people. I myself witnessed one delegate (?) trying to choke a woman (protestor), that was in one of the human chains blocking a major hotel where alot of them were staying. In some of the times that the police shot their tear gas during the day, it was the police that started the event. One of the times when I personally was tear gassed - happened as thus. The protestors were seated in front of the police when they were told to leave, they were then pepper gassed. After this some of the protestors threw some sticks at the police. Then we were tear gassed repeatedly and the police cleared the area in front of the hotel. It is interesting that the vandalism that occurred seemed to come from a small group of people maybe 100 plus that clothed themselves in all black and with black ski masks that were dedicated to ANARCHY. I myself on Monday were given a leaflet from one of these people who were advocating ANARCHY which most of us who were there were against. I am completely against the violence that happened but it is also such a shame of the action that the police took. It is interesting and alarming to me of HOW QUICKLY the authorities took control and proclaimed there curfew. We were there protesting in a NONVIOLENT way but here before the day was over, a curfew was imposed. Several times that the POLICE took action, how quickly did they use tear gas and other means to quickly overcome us peaceful protestors protesting in a NONVIOLENT way. Now on the news it is almost all on the vandalism that happened, and the action of the few unruly ones. I wish we who were protesting in the NONVIOLENT way would have had that much or at least some of that press coverage. The National Guard has NOT arrived yet but Gov. Locke has called them and they should be here today. Now I would just remark that if all of this has happened by just of one day protesting then imagine what WILL HAPPEN after Y2K hits. There is NOT one doubt in my mind now that when Y2K hits that martial law will be declared, the National Guard be called out, and the principal points that will be protected will be the banks, the homes of the rich, and the main big business places. It also has made me wonder even more of the main media that is just totally focusing on the violence, the vandalism, and the disruptions and so much trying to put ALL of the protesting in a bad light. And also trying to focus on that the WTO and them that are working on all of this Global Trade are the good guys. Now just now here in Seattle, this morning, it is even closer to a police state with NO Protests allowed at all in parts of downtown, that the ones that do protest NOT being able to have any banners, and no communication equipment at all to help coordinate activities. The National Guard is now here and downtown Seattle is at present because of the WTO a police city (State).
-- Kayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999
Very interesting points. Thank you very much, Kayla, for your eyewitness reporting.
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
YADA,YADA,YADA, take your sob story to the people who were vandalized. Watching T.V. now,Stores being vandalized wholesale.WHAT THE HELL WOULD YOU EXPECT????!!! Are you that clueless???? Get a life!!!
-- God bless the police (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
Who are you? What is your nationality? You do not write like a native speaker.
-- Ynott (Ynott@incorruptible.com), December 01, 1999.
Kayla -- Thanks for your account. I have friends who were protesting as part of a United Methodist group.
-- Libby Alexander (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
Thanks for that report.
As mentioned on another thread...
For the most part that dovetails with the WTO media coverage in the San Francisco Bay area.
There also was "one" video clip that bothered me, and corroborates with your account. It rather looked like the Seattle police started the fricas with the pepper spray and rubber bullets, and a time when the protestors were just sitting in solidarity... prior to any violence from the intentional disruptors and punk kids.
There are clearly some questions that need to be asked of the Seattle PD.
For the most part, it appears the peaceful protestors made their global point (if people can look beyond the black-masked ones), that the world needs to pay close attention to the actions of the WTO.
Now the WTO, should be allowed their rights to assemble and discuss, but simply observed, VERY closely, with a global magnifying glass.
Balance in all things.
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
God Bless the Police,
Weigh the testimony, then use what the Lord gave you to think with.....see the bigger picture, analyze what Kayla said...consider her position and motivation, then get up, turn the TV off for a few minutes, and THINK!! Police are important, and their existence IS necessary in a world where people exceed their boundaries, but more and more stories are coming in that seem to indicate either agents provocateur were seeded in to disrupt the organized peaceful protest, or some folks with no sense of responsibility decided it would be a good time to make mayhem.
Don't slam the messenger, post something indicative of your better nature.
-- Jay Urban (Jayho99@aol.com), December 01, 1999.
Infomative post that exposes both the readiness
of the police to instigate violence and the
complicity of the media to discredit the protest.
Take care and don't forget your gas mask.
-- spider (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
Your committment to non-violence is certainly commendable. My questions for you - 1. Would you endorse the human chain tactic and 2. criticize the police for intervening IF instead of a hotel hosting a trade convention the building blocked were an abortion clinic?
-- Connie Sistant (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
I saw on the news this am, footage of 3 or 4 police officers in riot gear following a man down the street shoving him repeatedly. There was noone else in the area, and he didn't seem to be doing anything. Another scene showed an officer shove a lady twice who was doing nothing but standing in a protest line. The police seem to be over- reacting.
In the paper today there was an article which stated "..agressive demonstrators linking arms and breaking store windows..." Excuse me, but there is a BIG difference between peaceful demonstration and vandalism. The right to assemble peacefully is guaranteed in the constitution. This kind of over-reaction, guilt by association, and disregard for constitutional law could very easily lead to bigger problems. Someone needs to get a grip on this in Seattle.
-- MegaMe (CWHale67@aol.com), December 01, 1999.
"In some places we had a human chain to block some of the people participating in the WTO to try to disrupt the event in a peaceful way." Uh-uh-uh, this is a use of force. Would you have a problem with a "peaceful" human chain to keep you from getting in or out of your home? If you want to stand holding signs on the side of the road (blocking no movement of pedestrians or vehicles), be my guest.
When you initiate the use of force, you have lost all moral standing. The police were right to clear away entrance-blockers. Some questions of proportionality of force, as well as the morality/desirability of the aims of the convening organization remain.
-- MinnesotaSmith (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
We aren't actually basing our reactions to the Seattle tumult on TV news, are we? After all that we've seen in the past few months in its handling of Y2K news, do we trust TeeVee Nooz to do anything but go for the cool visuals and sound bites? Please.
I was in Rome in the late 70's and found myself right in the middle of some so-called "riots". What I saw on TV that night bore no resemblance whatsoever to what I and my friends experienced directly. My Mom was completely freaked out by the violence she saw on the news, whereas the vast majority of folks in the crowds were actually just carrying banners and singing "Bandieri Rossa" and had no contact with the authorities at all. Very few folks got even mussed up, yet the news made it look like Rome was awash in chaos.
The nightly pix-n-bites do not tell the whole story and never will.
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
I've seen other reports on the guys in black coats and masks there too. Maybe I am just paranoid, but isn't it convenient that we have a bunch of guys who can't be identified breaking up stuff and linking themselves with the protesters? Gee, I wonder if they'll pop up at other protests to smear them too?
-- Just a little Paranoid (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
A still small voice is telling me that none of the black-masked goons who were destroying property were among those arrested yesterday.
-- Tom Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
hey just a little paranoid, yes I think you've hit the nail on the head. It was a setup for the start, but the sheeple can't see it, go figure..
-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), December 01, 1999.
Those in black causing problems were NOT part of a setup by the police or the fbi or anyone else. They had alerted the police and public as to their plans to disrupt and cause mayhem. The police were not allowed to discriminate against them as a group by not allowing them to "protest" along with anyone else just because of what they "might" do. And yes, it is now acknowledged that the teens and young adults were encouraged by seeing the Anarchy group do their damage without being stopped, and decided to go join in the distruction.
There is no "no protest zone". There is an area where the protesters are not allowed to march in the street, they can stick to the sidewalks all they want, but cannot block the traffic.
Yesterday there were protesters who were teargassed in what looked like a situation where they did nothing but stand there. What you have not been told is that many streets were closed for them to march and sit-down in. The areas where they got gassed were the streets that were meant to be kept open to allow safety vehecles (aid cars, fire trucks) freedom to move. The protesters in those streets were told repeatedly to get out of the street and they refused to move. That is why they were gassed. If it were your child in an ambulance on the way to the hospital would you want the roads blocked? Are you aware that just blocks up the hill from where those people were blocking the streets is what we call Pill Hill because most of our major hospitals are up there.
Another point that has been made this morning is about the gas mask proabition. The police have their non-lethal ways of dispersing people from areas they are not allowed to protest. The gas is one form of doing this. Protesters having gas masks defeats this purpose and there is no reason for having one unless the person plans on using it to twart the goal. Carying a gas mask shows intent to defy the dispersal orders by the Police. There are protests going on now. That is acceptable, as long as they stay out of the street (stick to sidewalks) and do not vandalize property.
You have to remember that some of the protesters wish to be arrested and got their noses bent a little out of joint yesterday when they were told they would not be arrested. Some tried anything (except vandalism) to get arrested yesterday and the police would just walk past them. It was funny. So today they are getting what they want. It is kind of like a two year old laying on the ground having a tantrum who's parent(s) just walk away from them ignoring them. The kid gets up and lays back down in front of the parent(s) again just to continue to be ignored. It's funny.
So spin all the BS you want, the Police did not brutalize anyone and there were reasons for the actions they arew taking.
Now yesterday I told of some of the activities of the non violent protesters, here are some pictures of the topless women dancing and some pictures of those in the Anarchy group.
These picture were taken by someone who was down town taking pictures.
Typical Seattle Humor
-- Cherri (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.