Fwd: CUPW in Seattle, Dec 1, 1999

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 01 Dec 1999 17:52:37 -0500

----------forwarded message----------
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 16:32:29 -0500
To: caw@caw.ca
From: Bob Olsen <bobolsen@interlog.com>
Subject: CUPW in Seattle, Dec 1, 1999

To: 'Bob Olsen' <bobolsen@interlog.com>
Subject: FW: Seattle reports from postal workers
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 14:04:32 -0500

David Bleakney
National Union Representative
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
377 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1Y3

Phone: 613-236-7230 ext 7953

  Below are three eyewitness reports on Seattle. Two are from postal
  workers and one from Catherine Louli. Issues the morning of December
  1, solidarity, dave


  Yesterday, a number of postal workers in Seattle chose to join with direct
  action groups in the streets of Seattle. We missed the AFDL-CIO event at
  the stadium as it was clear the action was in the streets and the WTO had
  to be stopped.

  Many postal workers arrived Monday afternoon in Seattle. Others were
  bussed in Tuesday morning from British Colombia. The director of the
  Business Council on National Issues (a big lobbyists for corporations and
  free trade cheerleaders) referred to Canadians in Seattle as "reactionary

  We met at Victor Steinbeck park in the morning. We proceeded to close
  intersections. There were allkinds of puppets and props. Some people
  brought along huge floats that were  set in  intersections while
  protesters chained themselves to to it. Postal workers locked arm and arm
  formed a cordon around the float in one location, where we remained for
  several hours.

  There was a battle for turf all day. Sometimes we were driven out but
  would reclaim the area again after regrouping. We took several vollies of
  tear gas and stun grenades. I was gassed four times yesterday. Some of our
  group were also attacked with clubs.

  This morning, in Seattle, the show of state oppression is unavoidable.
  Already there have been lots of arrests. Downtown Seattle is basically
  under martial law. There are cops and National Guard goons in every
  parking lot. We can't even walk down the sidewalk because our ponchos say
  "No to WTO". The land of the free and the home of the brave...?

  Report from Dave Condon, Regional education and Organization Officer,
  Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 9:30 am Seattle, Dec 1, 1999


  report from Cindy Ferris, Dec 1, Seattle

  Hello from Seattle. It's been a really crazy time. This morning (Dec 1)
  the downtown is closed. It has been declared a no-protest zone. Already
  there have been lots of arrests.

  We were held up for about an hour at the border when we crossed into the
  U.S. The Caravan was thoroughly checked and our Australian participant had
  to obtain a visa to enter.

  Over the weekend I attended the IFG which was really enlightening and
  educational. I marched yesterday in Seattle and fortunately, was not
  beaten or sprayed like so many others.

  We chose to offer the Winnebago yesterday to assist the demonstrators in
  the street. It was transformed from an anti WTO Caravan to a mobile first
  aid station for the people in the streets of Seattle. After all, the state
  just wanted to beat and attack people. Medical services is something they
  want to leave to the  transnational corporations.

  Anyway, we are all okay. Thanks to all those who asked.

  We will be sending further reports and pictures when it becomes possible.

  Cindy Ferris, Seattle, December 1, 1999
  From Catherine Louli:


  It's been an exiting time in Seattle. On Friday and Saturday 2,000
  attended the International Forum on Globalization. One thousand others
  were turned away due to lack of space. The audience was filled with
  students, environmentalists, artisists, farmers and workers. It was clear
  that many who attended did not have reform of the WTO on their minds.
  Following the IFG forum it has been a raukus time in Seattle.

  On Sunday and  Monday there were protests and demos of a non violent
  nature on every corner in the downtown core of Seattle. All of this led to
  the big event of Tuesday where labour with ngo's and non aligned youth
  joined forces with the direct action groups to shut down the WTO.
  Approximately 20,000 formed human chains and blocked intersections
  beginning 7 am Tuesday. They were joined by "official" labour protest at
  approximately noon.

  In a act of solidarity, dockworkers shut down the U.S. western seaboard.

  The Seattle police were out in force with  riot gear, swat teams and many
  different pieces of military hardware, including water cannon and
  concussion bombs.

  As word came out to the tens of thousands of protesters that the WTO had
  effectively been shut down, the police response escallated. The labour
  march continued back to the Stadium. However, many trade unionists
  remained in the streets of Seattle to conitue the blockade of the WTO and
  it's corporate bill of rights.  At this point approximately 30-35,000
  remained downtown.

  From approximately 1-7 pm on Tuesday the police in Seattle escalated their
  actions to the point of direct confrontation. Delegates to the WTO started
  to arrive and tried to resume their meetings with little success.

  It is true their was some property destruction.  As someone on the line I
  observed that those who perpetrated these acts  were not part of the tens
  of thousands of non violent demonstrators. There is little doubt they
  served the interest of the state and there are many in Seattle suggesting
  this work was accomplished by agent provacateurs.

  On more than one occasion, I, along with others,  tried to impede these
  people from destroying our attempts to maintain closure of the WTO. The
  reason protesters tried to stop the destruction of property is that we
  wanted to keep the WTO closed and we knew that if the destruction
  continued the state and government woyld escallate an already volitile
  situation. As a result of the destruction the mayor and governor announced
  a state of emergency and locked down the Seattle core between 7 pm and
  dawn on December 1. Clearly, the provacations play into the hands of the
  suthorities and the state.

  Between 3;30 and 7 pm the police used tear gas on a random basis, and used
  batons to probe and hit non-violent demonstarors under the guise of
  protecting the peace.

  This uncacceptable and inappropriate use of force outraged many. The
  police stood by and watched the handful who chose to smash windows.
  Instead of making any effort to protect the private property of
  corporations they chose to directly arttack those non-violent
  demonstartors who had been so effective all day.

  This morning, December 1, the curfew was lifted at dawn and an arrest
  perimeter was imposed at 7 am. It covers the downtown core near the
  convention centre. The mayor declared that any person protesting in the
  downtown core of Seattle would be immediately arrested. Is this the
  democracy that Pettigrew, the Canadaian trade minister keeps referring to
  when talking about the WTO? Is this the democracy that the western powers
  intend to export?

  The governor sent in the National Guard to downtown Seattle. There have
  been hundreds of arrests since this morning and the arrests continue as of
  this writing. As of 10 am Seattle time protestors have been put on buses
  and driven out to Sand Point Detention Centre. People continue to defy
  this restriction and go to the downtown core. Clinton is expected to leave
  his hotel within minutes and attend the WTO talks.

  The police presence is oppressive. The sutuation is volitile and if there
  is a word to be used, the entire situation is edgy.

  Many protestors agreed prior to the demonstartion and want our sisters and
  brothers around the world to understand that Seattle is not the end but
  the beginning for us. Resistance is having an impact. Clearly, it was the
  direct actions in the street that turned Seattle into the event it has

  The EU announced this morning that they were uncomfortable with the use of
  force yesterday.  Governments  continue these discussions without
  including other voices. Even when they do, it is done for cosmetic and
  public relations reasons.  The less developed nations have rejected any
  discussion on labour side accords. This rift between developed and
  developing natiions may well preclude any consensus here in Seattle. The
  protests have had their impact as courageous students and youth continue
  to voice their oppostion to an unjust and violent society.

  Report from Catherine Louli, media relations for the Cross Canada Caravan

  David Bleakney
  National Union Representative
  Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  377 Bank Street
  Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1Y3

  Phone: 613-236-7230 ext 7953



    Bob Olsen, Toronto      bobolsen@interlog.com