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1999-12-03

The Battle in Seattle: Demonstrators Block Jail Entrance, Demanding the Release of Hundreds of Protesters

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Protests continued on the streets of Seattle yesterday for a fourth day, as a large crowd blocked the main entrance to the city jail demanding the release of about 500 people who were arrested on Wednesday during demonstrations against the World Trade Organization. The first of several detained protesters, known as the "Janes and Johns WTO" because they refused to give their real names, were released without charges early this morning.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Seattle residents also took to the streets to protest police crackdowns in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, where officers trying to break up anti-WTO demonstrations also ended up tear gassing and abusing the residents themselves. Seattle mayor Paul Schell has acknowledged that some officers committed excesses and has promised an investigation.

The city remains in a state of emergency, as trade ministers and other delegates limp into the final day of this round of trade negotiations.

Guests:

  • John Sellers, Trainer for Rukus, an organization that trains thousands of activists from around the world in non-violent civil disobedience.
  • Kurt Murphee, Chair of the LA chapter of the Environmental Committee of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He has been a paramedic on the marches in Seattle.
  • Shannon Wright, from Rainforest Action Network who was arrested on Wednesday. She has been trained at one of the Rukus camps, and was also one of the activists who climbed on a crane over the weekend to protest the WTO.

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