It’s nice that the protesters who are being peacable are being well heard here.
A Frenchman named Bouvet was interviewed at a protest in front of a McDonalds downtown. He is against the WTO (and McDonalds specifically; he’s defaced them in France) because he feels it will force everyone to buy food from the big agribusiness conglomerates and will lead to forced cultural dilution (horror to a Frenchman, I hear).
After his interview, of course, an animal-liberation type spraypainted “Meat is Murder” on the wall and kicked in the window.
Next interview; a woman marching in a sea turtle costume. She’s with Greenpeace, and the turtle is a symbolic issue. Evidently the US had a tariff or prohibition on shrimp caught by trawlers that don’t use “turtle excluders” to prevent the trapping and pointless death of sea turtles. The WTO ruled that illegal and is trying to force (maybe already?) the US to life the tariff.
Her argument is very tangible; think about the kind of things the US puts tariffs or embargos on to affect policy (mahogany? ivory? Cuban tobacco?). The WTO could overrule that.
And then there’s the rest. Anarchists, socialists, professional protesters, general pains-in-the-butt.
The Times published a quote from a 21-year old protester from Boston who had ridden the Greyhound cross-country to hold a sign reading “Think the WTO is bad? Wait till you hear about capitalism!”. He said: “The WTO will affect everything from the ground up. It’s just a … really awful thing. We’ve got to do something about it”. Wow, that’s cogent criticism.
The Seattle Times front-page picture last night is great; it shows a policeman with a megaphone shouting just a foot away from a protester with a megaphone. The visual hook; it’s the same model of megaphone.
Did I mention the Times is just a block outside the curfew area?
“The whole world is watching”, indeed. There’s one armored car downtown… one ! I know for a fact there’s a whole fleet of them available at the national guard yard in Georgetown, just the other side of Boeing Field. And there’s heavy tanks fifty miles away at Ft. Lewis.
So why are the cops out on foot instead of chasing the looters around Pioneer Square in Hummvees? Because Chief Stamper told them that no matter how pissed off they get, they’ll let the peaceful ones march and contain the violent ones without hurting them. It’s not '68. It’s not Chicago.