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US

Police, protesters look back on week of tear gas and trade meetings

protest
A Dumpster fire rages earlier this week in the midst of a protest against the WTO in Seattle  

December 3, 1999
Web posted at: 9:02 p.m. EST (0202 GMT)


In this story:

Police praise and accuse

Protesters blame infiltrators

No confrontation at Friday march

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



From staff and wire reports

SEATTLE (CNN) -- Seattle authorities and demonstrators who clashed with police during the World Trade Organization conference are looking back at what went wrong and what may have been accomplished.

More than 500 people were arrested during the most violent clashes between protesters and police Tuesday and Wednesday. By Friday, protest groups were holding news conferences accusing police of brutality.

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Three arrested members of the Direct Action Network, like many of those detained, would identify themselves only as "John WTO" or "Jane WTO." They said they were arrested for protesting peacefully and were denied proper access to legal help once in jail.

Police praise and accuse

Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and Mayor Paul Schell have praised the way police responded to protesters, with a few exceptions.

Stamper accused some demonstrators of premeditated violence and offered as evidence what they said were confiscated large sticks, gas masks, smoke grenades, Super Soaker squirt guns, paint, slingshots, Molotov cocktails and rakes.

"They have also not been shy about chucking rocks and bottles at our police officers," Stamper said.

But the window-smashing and trash burning that shattered the peace earlier this week have ended, and police have not used concussion grenades or chemical spray since the final violent clash early Thursday morning.

Protesters blame infiltrators

Some protesters say the violence started when police overreacted to about 30 anarchists from Oregon who joined a rally of about 30,000 protesters Tuesday to destroy Seattle storefronts.

The event did bring together some strange bedfellows including labor groups, environmentalists and farmers, not to mention anarchists, all trying to deliver their messages to trade ministers who were attending the talks.

While tens-of-thousands cheered peacefully at an AFL-CIO rally Tuesday, protesters with more violent agendas grabbed newspaper headlines.

Some delegates on the inside said the cries on the outside were tough to ignore.

No confrontation at Friday march

A protest march on Friday, the start of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah, began with a religious theme. Representatives of several religious organizations denounced the WTO.

"Tonight is the first night of Hannukah, the Jewish night of celebration of liberation from imperialism and oppression," Rabbi David Seidenberg told the crowd.

The march was confronted by a line of police in riot gear when it reached the border of the "no-protest" zone around the meeting site, but after cries of "down with police brutality" the marchers moved away without a confrontation.

Correspondent Rusty Dornin and Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Final day of WTO conference brings calm, signs of normalcy
December 3, 1999
Troops sent to Seattle as part of terrorism contingency plan
December 2, 1999
Seattle cracks down on protesters with second night of tear gas
December 1, 1999
Seattle police charge as protesters challenge curfew
November 30, 1999
Activists to WTO: Put people over profits
November 29, 1999
Clinton hails trade pact with China
November 15, 1999
China opens doors to more free trade
November 15, 1999
U.S. officials hold out for WTO deal in China
November 14, 1999

RELATED SITES:
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Sierra Club
  • Responsible Trade Campaign Home Page
AFL-CIO
City of Seattle
  • News Release home page
Seattle Police Department
Globalspeak - WTO Webcam
Mobilization Against Corporate Globalization
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund
The National Association of Manufacturers
European Union
United for a Fair Economy
Global Exchange
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