On November 30, 1999, major governments met at a World Trade Organization (WTO), ministerial meeting at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington. During this meeting an enormous public protest took place in the streets of Seattle. The protestors were representing human rights groups, students, environmental groups, religious leaders, labor rights activists and members of numerous other groups. The groups were not only from the United States, but had come from all over the world. All of these people were peacefully protesting the practices of the WTO in the name of free trade. The protestors stated that the WTO upheld trade practices that allowed child labor, low wages and environmental destruction. The WTO justified these practices in the name of free trade.
Tens of thousands of people were in Seattle to protest peacefully, and the protests did start peacefully, but they did not end that way. A small number of anarchist groups were in Seattle to cause civil disobedience and acts of vandalism and property damage. These groups conducted deliberate acts of vandalism on corporate offices in Seattle. The Seattle Police Department did not have the number of officers, even with help from other departments, to handle the number of protestors. The officers used pepper spray, tear gas, stun grenades and eventually rubber bullets to try to unblock congested city streets. Some of the anarchists fought back by breaking windows and vandalizing storefronts. Dumpsters were pushed out into intersections and they were lit on fire and tires on police cars were deflated. The National Guard was finally called in, but did not get to Seattle until the next morning. Once the WTO packed up and went home, the protestors packed up and went on their way.
When the meeting finished, businesses had suffered millions of dollars in damage and lost sales, over 500 people were arrested. No deaths were attributed to the protest and no one was seriously injured....
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