GENTECH archive

[Index][Thread]

-The Whole World's Watching-Dec.3 -two Seattle P_I pieces (fwd)





---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 07:07:06 -0800 (PST)
From: MichaelP <papadop@PEAK.ORG>
To: unlikely suspects:  ;
Subject: -The Whole World's Watching-Dec.3 -two Seattle P_I pieces 

These two contradictory pieces appear in the same edition of to-days
Seattle paper.

I suppose you have to praise the Seattle mayor for "modifying" a rotten
decision - if what the first post describes is genuine; the big question
is what pressure was placed on him to declare martial law in the first
place. 

Maybe the message for the day is "make love, not war" - but I doubt if Mr.
Greed can digest that one.

See eg Berthold Brecht - The threepenney Opera

Cheers
MichaelP


========================
Seattle Post- Intelligencer  : December 3

    Mayor says 'sorry' for police abuse of protesters

   By Andrew Gumbel in Seattle


 The apology came as a surprise to almost everyone. Facing a rising tide
of indignation from citizens caught up in tear gas, water cannon and
rubber bullets, officials in Seattle said they were sorry yesterday for
police abuses during this week's protests against the World Trade
Organisation. They even sanctioned a spontaneous demonstration despite the
earlier imposition of a round-the-clock curfew and the arrest of more than
500 people.

After a tempestuous night of clashes between riot police and residents in
Seattle's Capitol Hill neighbourhood, Mayor Paul Schell and Police Chief
Norm Stamper unexpectedly dropped the hard line they had been taking and
said the city remained open to everyone. "It's time for us to start the
healing process," Mayor Schell said. "The city is not in lockdown. There
is no curfew." By last night, the police became noticeably more relaxed
and normal life was returning to the city centre.

Just hours earlier, the mayor had declared the first 24-hour curfew since
the Second World War and warned that shoppers, theatre-goers and other
citizens who got too close to the WTO's Convention Center risked being
arrested.

The climbdown came afterthe American Civil Liberties Union said it would
challenge the "no protest zone" in court on the grounds that it infringed
rights of free assembly, free speech and political protest.

In response, both the mayor and Chief Stamper acknowledged there had been
lapses in police behaviour. On Wednesday evening, shoppers and office
workers mingling with demonstrators were beaten. Later, a confrontation in
the Capitol Hill area lasted until 2 am as ordinary residents became
enraged by apparently random police attacks. Yet when several hundred
Capitol Hill residents spontaneously made their way downtown yesterday
morning to protest, police offered to escort them around the Convention
Center area.

The protesters have turned what was once an obscure multinational agency,
the WTO, into a household name  -  and a generally negative one at that.
For the city, the fervour of the demonstrations, the violence that broke
out on the fringes and the police response were alarming and utterly
unfamiliar. Local television stations described in great detail the
feeling of being hit by pepper spray and tear gas, because people in
Seattle had not experienced these things before.

But even at the height of the mayhem, conscientious citizens continued to
put money in parking meters and waited at red pedestrian lights rather
than risk the misdemeanour of jay-walking.

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST

Julie Pike, 31, is an environmentalist from Seattle who joined the
non-violent protest because she believes the WTO poses a threat to all she
holds dear. "This is a region of beautiful mountains and forests and fresh
water," she said. "Now the WTO wants to lift all restrictions on growth
and logging. They want to turn our region into one big commodity the
corporations can make money out of. There has to be a line in the sand, a
point at which we turn around and say no."

Covered in protest stickers, including a baseball cap spoofing the logo of
the clothing store the Gap, she was nevertheless appalled by the vandalism
in the central city and volunteered on Wednesday to help clear up the
mess.

THE ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

Alex Lilly, 27, is an animal rights activist from Portland, Oregon, who
considers himself an "art criminal". He has defaced billboards, sprayed
graffiti on walls and cheered as environmental radicals  - so-called
"eco-terrorists"  -  have attacked buildings.

He came to Seattle on his own, armed with a camera, a skateboard and his
trademark skull mask. He was not looking for trouble, but trouble soon
found him. "On Tuesday night I had tear gas canisters bouncing off me. It
was only because I had a camera that I managed to keep a distance and not
get arrested. The WTO is a fourth legislative branch with no voting
rights," he said, adding that it had totally messed up.

What did he think of the violence? "Some people call it violence but I
don't. These businesses will just repair their windows, but they won't
stop exploiting workers in the Third World. In the 1960s people like us
were called peace activists. Now we're called terrorists. Where's the
justice in that?"

THE FRENCH PROTESTER

Jose Bove, 46, is the French Roquefort cheese-maker who notoriously pulled
the roof off a McDonald's restaurant to protest against the US threat to
European agriculture and food standards. The farmer from Montredon, near
Larzac, was hailed as a hero in Seattle as he arrived with 250kg of
Roquefort and a rousing message of support for the protesters. Invited to
the WTO meeting as a member of a farming delegation, he strongly condemned
the use of hormones and genetically modified organisms, stood up for the
right of countries to be selfsufficient in food production and campaigned
against patenting of agricultural products and livestock. "We have to
respect human rights, UN conventions of working conditions and the
environment. The WTO has put itself above that."

A veteran of many demonstrations in France, he thought the violence was
risible. "So they smashed a few windows and looted one store. We were
chuckling all afternoon  -  it obviously wasn't a big deal. The police
reaction was incomprehensible and astounding."

THE SEATTLE COP

Tom McLaughlin, a Seattle police officer for the past two years, spent
several weeks training for the WTO meeting, with night-time sessions on
breaking up illegal protests, using a gas mask and other riot control
techniques.

He was on duty outside the Paramount Theater, venue for the summit's
opening ceremony that never happened, as the massed ranks of demonstrators
formed human chains around his guard post.

He had to help to pull a couple of trouble-makers off the speakers' podium
inside the theatre after they managed to get in. Later, he helped drive
the hard-core protesters out of the city's downtown area and up a hill
behind the building.

"It's a sad thing to see all the destruction," he said. "I respect the
rights of the protesters as long as they keep it non-violent." He believed
the police were well-organised. "This is the biggest challenge of public
order I've faced, but it's been OK."

THE WTO DELEGATE

Omkar Goswami toys with his glass of Lagavulin and lights a cigarette as
he relaxes in the lobby of the Sheraton hotel before going out to yet
another official function. The chief economist of the Confederation of
Indian Industry has had a difficult week, and not just because his
delegation is fighting to stop Western governments from threatening trade
sanctions against developed nations over labour standards.

He has had to argue his way out of street confrontations, been pushed
around by demonstrators and seen the work of the summit badly derailed by
protests. "It was fine up until lunchtime," he said of Tuesday's debacle.
"You could talk to them, if you hid your delegation badge. Then something
turned very ugly."

THE SEATTLE RESIDENT

Freyda Stephens, general manager of the Roosevelt Hotel on the corner of
Pine Street and 7th Avenue, has found herself on the front line of the
battles all week as protesters have congregated in the streets near her
hotel and formed barricades preventing guests from entering or leaving.

Serried ranks of riot police have stood in formation on one side of her
hotel while, on the other, special police units have cleared the streets
every night with concussion grenades and tear gas canisters.

"We were expecting a big march but not this kind of aggressive damage,"
she said. "For the first couple of hours everything was fine, then someone
got the idea we were one of the major delegate hotels and we were under
siege."

===
24-hour curfew is imposed in Seattle

By Andrew Gumbel and Andrew Marshall in Seattle

3 December 1999

With street battles between protesters and riot police still going on, the
mayor of Seattle imposed a 24-hour curfew on the city centre yesterday.

Paul Schell said that only people on official business would be allowed
into a 46-block area around the centre where the World Trade Organisation
is meeting. The curfew will last until the official end of the WTO meting
tomorrow. "Our responses will be swift," Mr Schell said. "Anybody who
engages in improper behaviour will be dealt with."

More than 500 people have already been arrested during the week of
violence in the city. Civil liberties groups reacted in outrage to what is
the first such round-the-clock curfew since the Second World War, when
Seattle ordered Japanese citizens off the streets before interning them.
"I have never encountered anything like this in a US city and I hope never
to again," said Mike Dolan, of the protest group Global Trade Watch. The
American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the "no protest
zone" in the federal court as it infringes Americans' rights to free
assembly and free speech.

The successof the talks themselves was in the balance last night, with
officials warning that unless concessions were made on agriculture, labour
standards and other issues, a deal could slip away. The chaos that
surrounded the meeting on Tuesday helped to set back early progress.


=================================


*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest
in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes. ***