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November 30, 2009

Seattle + 10


From photographer George Hickey on the tenth anniversary of the Seattle WTO protests:

I see the WTO as basically a protesters vs cops event. The cops being there to protect the interests of corporate power. The protesters attempting to make their views known and compel the corporate media to broadcast them. (One local TV station KOMO actually refused to cover the event; not wanting to give the “rioters” publicity.) On Dec 1, after the riots of Nov 30th the city declared a no-protest zone in downtown Seattle opening the area only to shoppers and employees. Activists wearing anti-WTO buttons or carrying signs were arrested. One of these photos is on police hauling away protesters in Metro buses (photo #4).

A few years later the arrested protesters won a monetary award from the city for those arrests violating their free speech rights. It’s been reported that when the streets were blocked with tens of thousands of protesters and Secretary of State Albright couldn’t leave her hotel and Clinton was due in town that night that the Mayor ordered the fire department to go into the streets and turn fire hoses on the protesters but the Fire Department refused to do it.

Regarding the photo of the cop pepper spraying me in the face, a couple years later the city paid me a substantial settlement for that assault on me.

Tomorrow is 10th Anniversary of the N30 WTO Protest in Seattle by Lefty Coaster/DKos

No ‘Turnaround’ in WTO 10 Years After Seattle Protests/In These Times

Seattle + 10 People’s Summit

From Seattle to Detroit: 10 Lessons for Movement Building on the 10th Anniversary of the WTO Shutdown/ZNet

Revisiting No Logo, Ten Years Later/Naomi Klein

  • philip

    Nice photos!

  • http://www.sionphoto.com Sion

    George Hickeys recollection is bang on correct.
    The protesters had large areas of central Seattle blockaded very early in the day. The Seattle PD and King County Sheriff’s Dept goon squads (who had paraded in full battle armour the previous day) spent the rest of the day and night attempting to dislodge them by using huge amounts of excessive force – pounding kids with staves, repeatedly pepper spraying people chained together on road intersections and firing rubber bullets into crowds at sort range.
    I ended up breathing in a lot of teargas and pepper spray. My lungs haven’t been the same since. I heard a rumour that the teargas was military grade and wasn’t designed for small urban areas. The cops used absolutely tons of the stuff and many bystanders and commuters got more than a taste of it.
    Of course the official history of the ‘battle’ is that a bunch of black bloc kids smashed up a Gap store and er….that’s all.
    A bunch of people saw all too clearly that we were heading for disaster, and have been ridiculed and beaten by the people who took us there, for over a decade now.
    And that should tell you all you need to know, about how things work.

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