“How important was last year’s anti-WTO demonstration in Seattle? It may have been the most important single demonstration in the history of the United States.”
“One year ago” by Geov Parrish
“Seattle’s WTO debacle – in which police not only denied constitutional rights to thousands of peaceful citizens, but indiscriminately bludgeoned, gassed, pepper-sprayed, kicked, cursed and rubbershot legal protesters, on-duty journalists, aid workers and innocent bystanders – is merely one of the larger, more public examples of police abuse. Racial profiling, theft, extortion, falsifying evidence, destroying evidence, intimidation, perjury, “blue wall” coverups, inquest whitewashes, brutality, torture and the unnecessary taking of human life, NYC, LA, Seattle . . . I shouldn’t need to cite specific examples. It’s all been in the news.
“Now, an honest, civic-minded, benevolent police force can provide an invaluable public service. Society needs it. However, when the policeman acts the arrogant master rather than the respectful servant, society is betrayed and freedom obliterated. And when city or county officials lack the courage to stand up to powerful law-enforcement unions, or to enlighten a public that has been both scared yellow by fearmongers and made jaded by movies glorifying rogue cops, we, all of us, are in deep trouble.
“Whether or not you completely share my concern that an over-regulated America may be inching in the direction of a corporate police state – and that King County and Seattle are in the vanguard of that sorry movement – still, you surely recognize that, from Waco to WTO, many civil liberties have been violently compromised of late, and that action must be taken to rescue our precious constitutional protections.”–Tom Robbins
Last Year’s WTO-Protestor Arrestees Respond:
For Immediate Release
WTO Arrestees Condemn Police Preparations for N30 Anniversary
Last year at the WTO protests in Seattle, Mayor Schell and the city of Seattle arrested over 600 people whose only “crime” was their protest of the WTO in an alleged “No Protest” zone. In response to such blatant civil rights violations, a class action has been filed against the City of Seattle in the name of all those arrested in the “No-Protest “zones. Yet the city has failed to learn from its mistakes. Last week Maud Daudon, deputy mayor of Seattle, implied that all those exercising their constitutional right of free speech at this year’s N30 anniversary celebration, would be arrested if they do not have the proper permit. (Seattle P-I, 11/16/2000, front page)
The undersigned WTO-Protest arrestees and the legal team representing them in the class action suit condemn these statements. Legal team member Ben S. declares, “This type of behavior of using mass arrests as crowd control is clearly illegal. This is why we are filing a class action suit based on last year’s repressive tactics.” Ben continues, “I wonder if the mayor and city truly understand the implications of denying the guaranteed rights of free speech and assembly, both in moral and financial terms.”
“The last time I checked, the US Constitution read that ‘Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,'” espouses WTO-protest arrestee and named plaintiff, Ken Hankin. “Last year we came together in many ways as a movement opposed to corporate globalization as we successfully protested the WTO ministerial. This year we are going to celebrate in the same streets by holding events such as marches and vegetarian potlucks; we will be peaceful AGAIN, and urge the police to show respect for our basic constitutional rights.”
The large scale protests against corporate globalization were sparked in Seattle and continued at the IMF / World Bank meetings in Washington D.C., and Prague, as well as many other economic conferences throughout the world. Atrocious police actions including mass arrests have unfortunately been part of this movement. The undersigned class action members urge the City of Seattle to draw connections between the repressive tendencies of corporate globalization and the repressive response by local police forces to those protesting such repressive practices. “The only way for these virulent institutions to meet, is to suspend civil rights,” according to jane wto – another of the 600 wto arrestee’s. “But instead of slowing us down, it reaffirms our commitment to global justice. You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire.”
~Next Step: “From Earth Day to May Day, Y2K” everywhere!
End Corporate Rule!~
“Where are them puppets!?? I’m gonna break me some puppet head!!!”
Dear Viewers: here is the link, once again, to my report for the Corpse on last year’s WTO protests. I will be there tomorrow, as well, and look fwd to letting you all in on what I see. There have been several comments already to the effect that the turnout for these anniversary events would have been low, had it not been for the aforementioned Mayor’s warning–now “peop
le are coming out of the woodwork”. Those are my kind of people. –Yrs. Humbly, ‘Dr. Menlo.com’