Protestors add to chaos in Seattle

03 Dec, 1999 04:00 AM

POLICE used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters stopping delegates from attending the opening session of last week's World Trade Organisations Ministerial conference in Seattle. Downtown Seattle was thrown into complete disarray as about 100,000 protesters formed a blockade in the streets around Washington State Convention and Trade Centre, the venue for the WTO conference. They succeeded in delaying the opening session of the WTO conference on the Tuesday. Some delegates were wondering if the protests would be the start of a worldwide protest against the globalisation of trade. The protesters claim the 135-nation WTO isn't a democratic organisation and its activities as the world's global trade "policeman" is helping to increase the wealth and power of multinationals. They want issues such as the environment and the use of child labour by companies operating in third world countries put on the table at WTO. The WTO was already in disarray, arriving in Seattle without even a meeting agenda. The protests were generally peaceful but a group of anarchists known to police broke shop windows and scrawled messages on buildings and police cars.


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