World Trade Organization - Seattle Protests
Reporting, Live from Seattle!
The email updates were quite a hit, and after the Conference was over I collected all the emails and additional information into this website. Some of the additional material includes information from TV, papers, pictures I took, and clips from the Independent Media Center. It is not meant to be propoganda, but simply an diary of what I witnessed. Having just moved to Seattle months before, I was not involved in any of the protests, nor did I even really know about any of the topics. Passions on boths side were pretty heated, so I made this site as objectively as I could so other's could experience the events and judge for themselves.
The information in these pages, where taken from what I could see through binoculars out the window, TV broadcasts, the Independent Media Center website, and what I saw when I did venture downtown. (I lived 5 blocks from ground zero, where the WTO Ministerials were taking place as well as the final epicenter of all the protests.) I've heard many stories from fellow neighbors since then, but I've tried to keep this page strictly to what I personally witnessed at the time.
The Majority of the pictures on this site are ones that I copied from the Independent Media Center site, as well as some I took myself. I wish I had not lost all the photographer credits at the time, but for now I can thank them for making their work available to the public through their postings. I'm posting some of this information here so those who don't live here can sneak a view at what happened, but if there is any concern esp. from the photographers themselves I will be more than happy to remove any of the images.
The goal, as I understand it, of the Independent Media Center was to get as much independent, non-commercialized network coverage of the protests out to the public as possible, so the event isn't forever limited to a sensational two-minute news package. The IMC deserves a lot of credit for what their volunteers accomplished to this effect. Many videos and even a fabulous feature length film called "Trade Off" have been created from the material and footage the IMC collected during this week.
KIRO 7 News also deserves a lot of credit. They cancelled most of their regular programming for several days to give live broadcasts from 7am till dusk each day so that residents and workers would know what was going on outside their storefronts and houses. Because they were broadcasting live their newscast were very loyal to the truth and usefully timely esp. when your trying to figure out where to go to avoid teargas on your way home. I gained a lot of respect for KIRO and KOMO had a bit of credibility to. However, I've lost all respect for other stations and esp. for national network newscasts. The IMC has a very good point with their antii-commericilized media stance.
Depending on whose statistics you read there were between 50,000 to 75,000 people out here trying to raise awareness over issues the WTO was voting on. Issues which most Americans would never be aware of if they hadn't raised their voices. Its a damn shame that all those intelligent & informed voices have been reduced to a few ill-informed bystanders and a couple of teenagers who decided to smash things up because they could. My knee jerk reaction to the police activity at the time was critical, but in retrospect things could have been a lot worse. There is no way they could have been everywhere to protect everything. Their department had to choose priorities, and like the protestors (the real ones, not the tag along troublemakers) the police kept the interaction for the majority of the day quite peaceable. They should be given credit for that. The police response in another country might not have been as agreeable to free speech..
So much more happened here
and was at stake here than what a two-minute nationally televised news
package is ever going to show you. If you are intersted in finding out
why people are so upset over the WTO I really recommend seeing the independently
produced film "Trade Off" which aired at the Seattle International
Film Festival and other film festivals. Otherwise if you want to find
out the bare bones of what happened on the street, read on. There
are also many links (or at one time there was) at the end of this site
pointing you in the direction of other information on either side.
Reports & Pictures in chronological order:
Stephanie Zimmerman, 1999