Dec 2nd Notes from Dr. Wes in Seattle

Anitra Freeman (
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 22:38:47 -0800 (PST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Quiet night?

They did it. A total change of strategy has occurred again.

The rumor on the street is that Bill Clinton twisted Mayor Schell's
arm to rein in the police force. I don't know about that but in any
case it appears that the violence on the Hill last night has led the
city to the re-assessment of strategy that I thought it should.

All day today the demonstrators ignored WTO, declaring their previous
protests regarding the conference a success. Instead they surrounded
the King County Jail.

Even though three intersections were blocked for five hours as the
protesters chanted demands that the 600 arrestees be released, the
police made no move to either arrest anyone or disperse the crowd.

Consequently the protesters actually disrupted city activities far
less than the police themselves did. After all, the police were still
enforcing the 24-hour curfew in the retail core, blocking off forty to
fifty blocks around the Convention Center. The protest around the jail
only affected four blocks.

Then when 7pm rolled around and it was time to enforce the Mayor's
seven-to-dawn curfew for the wider downtown area, the city sent actual
negotiators to try and arrange safe dispersal, to avoid the kind of
tension and violence that occurred last night.

The latest news is, talk worked. The demonstrators have left downtown
and dispersed.

Other good news: Mayor Schell decided that things have calmed down
enough to scale back the size of the curfew area, so that Anitra and I
can actually go home tonight without risking arrest.

An argument for better communication between police departments of
different cities?: It appears now to be the case that almost all of
the vandalism that sparked the police crack-down on Tuesday was caused
by a single group of perhaps twenty people that came up from Eugene,
Oregon, who were well known to the Portland authorities for engaging
in similar activities in the past.

>>>>>>>>>          Wes Browning             <<<<<<<<<
<<<<<<<<< = ho`ike `o ke alaka`i i ke kona  >>>>>>>>>
[end forward]

Jose Ornelas, another StreetWrites member, makes the point that if it
*hadn't* been for the twenty or so "violent anarchists", the WTO
protests would never have gotten off the back page, WTO members would
still be only paying lip service to public concerns, and the WTO would
meet in Seattle year after year because it's such a nice city, with nice
little protestors who have a nice little parade every year.

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman /
"Never doubt that a small group of imperfect people can improve the
world--indeed they are the only ones who ever have." Not Margaret Mead