Forwarding A WTO Report from within the 12/02 Protest Rally (fwd)

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 20:18:48 -0800 (PST)


Thought you would enjoy reading a non media report of today's protest event.

Date:   12/02/1999 4:43:31 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:   AlbertK@acadio.com (Albert Kaufman)

Here's my report from today's march. 

A quick report from the streets.

I took off for a rally at the Pike Place Market this afternoon and ended up
walking with marchers north on 1st Ave. to the market.  The group was
peaceful and the police were not routing traffic so many of us served in
that role.

Today's focus is about agriculture and the WTO.  There were many farmers
from around the world in attendance and the people marching had signs about
protecting small family farms and stopping Monsanto and other corporate
giants from lowering food standards around the world.  It was a very
interesting crowd and much different from the labor rally I attended on
Tuesday.  Someone was passing out organic apples to the marchers so we
started chanting "the police gave us tear gas, the farmers gave us apples!"

At the rally were about 5-10,000 people and a stage was set up.  It's a
beautiful (a little chilly) sunny day in Seattle and people were beaming.
Also, Victor Steinbruek Park, where the rally was held has a beautiful view
of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains - very impressive today.

Some of the speakers were Ralph Nadar of the Green Party, Jim Hightower, and
many farm leaders from around the world - one from Canada spoke very
eloquently and with good humor.  The main gist of what people were saying
was that this is just the beginning of a new movement - we're taking the
baton and moving forward.  A peoples' movement - much different from those
in the past.

There's something very special about being on the streets of Seattle (in
this case in the Pike Place Market) without any traffic.  Usually, while
you're in this park you constantly have to deal with traffic and cars around
you and I was delighted that the streets had been closed for our arrival.

After a performance by a folk group from England the marchers continued on
in two directions - to protest against Weyerhauser - our local lumber giant
- well known for it's clear-cutting techniques all over the world, and
Cargill - not sure what they do.

Last night there were reports that the police were tear-gassing people in
Capitol Hill which is one of our most fun neighborhoods. It's a little like
Greenwhich Village in New York and has quite a vibrant nightlife.  It
saddens me that tear gas is being used so frequently and that a lot of
bystanders who have no idea what's going on are being gassed - including
lots of children who live in these residential areas.  I believe the police
are relying much too much on tear gas rather than letting people protest
peacefully where they like.

Hope you're doing well.  Please feel free to pass this on to friends who may
like to hear the word from the streets.

Sincerely,



Albert Kaufman
Seattle

A friend has put up a website with pictures from Tuesday, 11/30/99.  It's at
http://206.191.153.20/wto/ - these make great backdrops for your pc - just
right click on the desktop (unless you're left-handed) and click on "set as
wallpaper"

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