The Battle in Seattle: Hundreds Arrested and a Look at the WTO and the Environment

December 02, 1999

President Clinton spoke yesterday before trade ministers from 130 member countries of the World Trade Organization, as hundreds of protesters continued to occupy the streets of Seattle in non-violent protests against global capitalism. The WTO limped into its second day of meetings, with stunned delegates meeting behind police lines to decide on a trade agenda aimed at expediting global free trade. The city continues to be in a state of emergency and under police siege–with hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement agents patrolling the streets, arresting people and shooting tear gas canisters to disperse crowds. Close to 500 demonstrators were arrested yesterday, as police changed tactics from the day before and began to make mass arrests.

Last night’s protest lasted well into the night, and protesters were taken to Sand Point, an empty Naval facility that was re-opened by police. One of the people arrested yesterday was Victor Minotti, from the International Forum on Globalization. He met with a member of the official US Trade delegation, and was arrested as he spoke to activists in the street after the meeting. Today we also bring you the sounds of what has become known as "the battle in Seattle."

We also take a look what WTO critics say is one of the largest casualties of free trade policies: the environment. Thousands of environmental activists have taken to the streets in the last several days, some dressed as sea turtles and butterflies to symbolize two species in danger of extinction, one from fishing, and the other from the effects of genetically engineered corn, whose pollen is thought to kill monarch butterflies. Activists say that logging, gas emissions, industrial pollution, and many other mass scale corporate onslaughts on the environment will increase with the WTO’s measures to expedite trade.


  • Sounds Of The Battle From Seattle


  • Victor Minotti, International Forum on Globalization.
  • Patty Goldman, Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund