Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Teacher Arrested at WTO Writes a Letter to His Judge

December 08, 1999
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

We now bring you words from Blas Bonpane, Jr., a high school teacher from Humboldt, California, who was arrested at the anti-WTO protests in Seattle last week. Bonpane was walking near the Sheraton Hotel and Towers when three officers threw him to the ground without warning. When Bonpane asked one of the officers if they were arresting him because of his anti-WTO pin, he said yes.

He spent 5 days in jail with general population inmates charged with felony crimes. Bonpane said that he saw horrible treatment of detained protestors, including a 75 year old woman whose wrists were dripping with blood because her handcuffs were too tight. And he said that jailers tried to instill fear in the protesters by telling other inmates that the anti-WTO people were responsible for their loss of visitors and commissary privileges.

When he was arraigned before a Seattle judge, the judge, on finding out that Bonpane was a high school teacher, said that what he had done was "stupid." Bonpane decided to write a letter to the judge who arraigned him.

Tape:

  • Blase Bonpane, Jr., high school teacher who was arrested at the WTO protests, and wrote a letter to his arraigning judge.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.