THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD!
TEAR GAS FILLS THE STREETS OF SEATTLE
THE NEW AMERICAN REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN
50,000 PROTEST CORPORATE RULE
SEATTLE POLICE ATTACK PEACEFUL PROTESTORS AT THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Date: Tuesday, November 30, 1999. Time: 10:30 am.
Police bar the "Delegation for the Environment" from entering the WTO
meeting--with pepper spray, tear gas, noise bombs and plastic bullets.
These photos tell the story of the Seattle police attack on peaceful
protestors at 6th Avenue near the Sheraton Hotel at about 10:30 am Tuesday
morning, November 30, 1999. Police attacks such as this against peaceful
protestors occurred all morning before any windows were broken in downtown
More than 50,000 people peacefully protested the WTO meeting in Seattle the
week of November 30, including labor unions, environmentalists, farmers,
human rights groups, church groups and students. Some 10,000 people
blocked intersections in downtown Seattle, successfully preventing the WTO
from beginning their secret, unconstitutional "trade" meetings on Tuesday.
Public opposition was so strong that the WTO could not meet at all except
by declaration of a state of emergency, calling out of the National Guard,
and brutal police attacks against thousands of peaceful protestors. The
WTO meeting was a failure and the "delegates" retreated from Seattle in
The "Delegation for the Environment" approaches the Seattle Convention
Center to attend the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting. The Save the
Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign offered to represent the environment at
the WTO proceedings, where our environmental laws are unconstitutionally
overturned at the behest of transnational corporations and global financial
interests. Our group is seen here facing the police billy clubs at the
Sheraton Hotel intersection. Behind us are about 200 people who are
peacefully blocking the intersection to prevent the WTO delegates from
attending their secret meeting. See below for an explanation of the
WTO--what it is, what it does.
The Delegation for the Environment removed itself from this confrontation
with the police, by mutual agreement with the other protestors, because the
police were getting nervous and more aggressive--and were preparing to use
tear gas--to prevent our entry into the Convention Center. The police had
started poking and hitting our group with billy clubs. (Some of us still
have bruises.) We moved away in order to calm the situation down. Our
objective was civil and peaceful discussion. We, and everyone at this
intersection, went out of our way *not* to provoke the police.
After the Delegation for the Environment moved away from the confrontation,
one of us asked a policeman who had been identified as the "commander"
three questions: 1) Had an order to disperse been given in the
intersection? 2) Had an order to disperse been given on the sidewalk? 2)
Had an order come down to use tear gas? This "commander" answered "no" to
all three questions. Shortly afterward, the police attacked the peaceful
protestors in the intersection with pepper spray, tear gas canisters and
This photo series clearly shows that the protestors were peaceful, that we
presented no threat to the police, and that no one was throwing anything or
yelling anything at the police when the police struck, without warning and
without provocation. The police hosed the seated protestors with pepper
spray, and then began shooting tear gas canisters and plastic bullets at
them. They continued the attack even on people who were lying on the
ground, obviously disabled and extremely sick.
Tear gas engulfs the street. Bystanders including an elderly Asian couple
who said they were WTO delegates got hit with tear gas. We helped this
couple escape over a wall to another street. The police kept shooting more
and more tear gas. They aimed their tear gas canisters at the backs of
people who were on the ground. They aimed plastic bullets at heads and
bodies. The pepper spray had been poured over peoples' heads and faces.
It was the most sickening attack on human beings that any of us had ever
personally witnessed. It was if the police were exterminating insects.
The mainstream media--specifically all of the Seattle TV stations--reported
these events backwards. They showed footage of the later window-breaking
first, then the police "getting tough" and using tear gas--the opposite of
what happened. These TV stations completely misinformed the public, and
prevented immediate restraint of the police by public outcry. As a result,
the police then went on a rampage and invaded the Capitol Hill
neighborhood, tear gassing people in cafes, in their homes and on their
sidewalks, hitting and kicking people, chasing them down alleys, pulling
people from their cars and roughing them up, and creating mayhem. They
shut down a 50 city block area in downtown Seattle and forbade any free
speech activity in that entire area. They even ordered one woman to leave
downtown, who was merely wearing an anti-WTO button! They "swept the
streets." They filled the streets with tear gas. The mayor declared a
state of emergency and called in the National Guard.
To repeat, NO WINDOWS WERE BROKEN UNTIL LATE AFTERNOON, about 3:00 pm, when
a few young people went about kicking in corporate store windows such as
MacDonald's, Starbuck's and the Gap. Other protestors tried to stop them,
while the police did NOTHING. The police were everywhere, yet they failed
to arrest any of the young people who were trashing buildings. The police
later tried to twist these events around to justify their EARLIER violence
against entirely peaceful protestors.
President Clinton and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell have made pious statements
about welcoming peaceful protest and encouraging public debate. What
nonsense! 50,000 people peacefully protested and insisted on a public
airing of WTO activities--and got kicked around and tear gassed and
"exterminated" for doing so.
The truth is now coming out...
1. We won! The People won! We shut down the WTO--which retreated in
2. We educated the entire world about the WTO.
3. We did it peacefully!
4. The Chief of Police of Seattle, Norm Stamper, resigned on December 7,
1999, as a result of the public outcry in Seattle over many police actions
such as the one documented above.
5. The 600-plus protestors who were arrested mostly on Wednesday, December
1, for peacefully protesting these "police state" tactics, have been
released from jail, although the charges against them have not been
These 600-plus people were kept in jail for 3 to 4 days without arraignment
and without counsel. They have suffered enough for minor civil infractions
such as blocking an intersection (a ticketing offense!). They are heroes!
Their peaceful actions--and the actions of the 50,000 other people who
protested the WTO in Seattle--will live in history as the moment that the
New American Revolution began!
Write to the following people to protest police violence and to demand
amnesty for all protestors:
Gary Locke, Governor, State of Washington
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Paul Schell, Mayor of Seattle
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
fax (206) 684-5360
tel (206) 684-4000
Seattle City Council
600 4th Ave. #1100
Seattle, WA 98104-1876
tel. (206) 684-8888
fax (206) 684-8587
Sue Donaldson, Pres.
WHAT IS THE "WTO"?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a group of trade ministers which
represents the interests of transnational corporations and meets in secret
to determine world economic policy. The WTO has the power to overturn
local laws that protect workers, consumers, the environment, public health
and other interests as interfering with "free trade."
The WTO is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Although the WTO includes trade
ministers from over 100 countries, the most powerful, industrial countries
dominate the proceedings. Our government--our Congress and President--has
given the WTO the power to overrule our laws. Laws that have already been
overturned include our Endangered Species Act protections for sea turtles
and dolphins in fishing operations. Even laws that merely require
labeling--for instance, of genetically altered food--are vulnerable. The
WTO permits international corporations to seek out the cheapest labor
worldwide--destroying jobs in the United States and inflicting slave-like
conditions on workers in other countries. The WTO has no concern for human
rights. Next on the WTO agenda is the "Free Logging Agreement" which will
eliminate U.S. tariffs on all wood imports, including wood from countries
that have no environmental laws, and that have tree infestations that could
destroy U.S. forests.
The "Delegation for the Environment" heads a group of about 10,000 people
who filled the streets of downtown Seattle early Tuesday morning, November
30, with the intention of peacefully shutting down the WTO meeting. Our
banner shows "Death" on one side, and "Life is not a Commodity" on the
We marched with many labor unions, including the Steelworkers, Postal
workers and Teamsters. The Steelworkers' banner targets Charles Hurwitz,
the greedbag who is destroying Pacific Lumber forest lands in Humboldt
County, California, to pay off junk bonds. Meanwhile, the Longshoremen
shut down all west coast ports in solidarity.
"Resist Corporate Tyranny" and "Life is not a Commodity" were the themes.
We stood shoulder to shoulder together against a massive array of riot
squad police in "Darth Vader" uniforms, and National Guard, whose job was
to defame and smash this New Democracy movement. They failed. The New
American Revolution has begun!
For questions and comments please e-mail us!
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