WTO Riots in Seattle

WTO Riots in Seattle

Length: 1251 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The WTO riots commonly referred to as "The Battle in Seattle" had a very big impact on Seattle. The WTO riots pretty much shutdown downtown Seattle for 5 days. Businesses lost millions of dollars from lack of people and vandalism. People all over the world watched the WTO riots from there homes on television. Many people realized that if you want something to happen bad enough you can make it happen. There were further losses in tourism due to damaged reputation, and/or public anxiety in living or visiting Seattle.

The World Trade Organization was established on January 1st, 1995. There are 147 member countries as of April 23rd , 2004. The budget for the WTO is 162 million Swiss francs as of January 1st, 2004. The number of Secretariat staff members is 600. The head staff member is Supachai Panitchpakdi and he is a director-general.

The founding of the WTO primarily the interest of the United States. Just as it was the US which stopped the founding of the International Trade Organization (ITO) in 1948, when it felt that it would not provide an overwhelming economic dominance in the post-war world, so it was the US that became the leading campaigner for the Uruguay Round and the founding of the WTO, when it felt that more competitive global conditions had created a situation where its corporate interests now demanded an opposite stance.

The WTO performs various functions including administering WTO trade agreement, organizing forums for trade negotiations, handling trade disputes, monitoring national trade policies, providing technical assistance and training for developing countries, and cooperation with other international organizations.

On November 30, 1999, the World Trade Organization was going to hold a meeting in Seattle, Washington, for what was to be the launch of a new round of trade negotiations. The negotiations, which were very unsuccessful, were overshadowed by massive and controversial street protests outside the hotels and convention center. They were protesting the convening of the WTO because they believe the WTO puts profits above human rights and environmental concerns, and that its policies reflect the commercial interests of multinational companies. This is the cause of the WTO riots.

Planning for the demonstrations began months in advance and included local, national, and international organizations. Among the most notable participants were national and international non governmental organizations (especially those concerned with labor issues, the environment, and consumer protection), labor unions, student groups, religiously-based groups, and anarchists.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"WTO Riots in Seattle." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Mar 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Protest Against the WTO in Seattle Essay

- Protest Against the WTO in Seattle The people assembled in the streets of Seattle were labor unionists and environmentalists, lumber workers and forest activists, students and teachers, farmers and cheese makers, Germans and Ukrainians, Africans and Asians, North Americans and Latin Americans, gays and straights, human rights activists and animal right activists, indigenous people and white urban professionals, children and elders. Some wore business suits, some overalls, some wore sea turtle costumes, some leather and piercings, some wore almost nothing at all (Reed 2005)....   [tags: World Trade Organization Protesting Essays Papers]

Research Papers
2231 words (6.4 pages)

Essay about The WTO and Anti-Dumping

- 1. Introduction If a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market, it is said to be “dumping” the product. Is this unfair competition. Opinions differ, but many governments take action against dumping in order to defend their domestic industries. The WTO agreement does not pass judgement. Its focus is on how governments can or cannot react to dumping — it disciplines anti-dumping actions, and it is often called the “Anti-Dumping Agreement”....   [tags: WTO Essays]

Research Papers
947 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about My Letter : My Desire For Seattle

- My Desire for Seattle Mom, dad I want to go to Seattle. I know you have heard me a bunch of times says this and you just look at me with confused eyes and say “Why, Seattle. Why do you want to go there?” And I always answer the same.“I don’t know.” I just know that I want to go there. There isn’t a specific reason only the desire to go there. I can’t tell you why I want to go there, but I can tell you where my desires for this city started. First when I heard the word Seattle for the first time, second from a T.V show called Frasier and the movie Sleepless in Seattle and last was why nobody else that I know wants to go there everybody wants to go to other citys but not Seattle this mak...   [tags: English-language films, American films, Seattle]

Research Papers
848 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Chicago Race Riots

- A Look Into the Chicago Race Riots The Civil War was fought over the “race problem,” to determine the place of African-Americans in America. The Union won the war and freed the slaves. However, when President Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation, a hopeful promise for freedom from oppression and slavery for African-Americans, he refrained from announcing the decades of hardship that would follow to obtaining the new won “freedom”. Over the course of nearly a century, African-Americans would be deprived and face adversity to their rights....   [tags: Riots]

Research Papers
2859 words (8.2 pages)

The Stonewall Riots Analysis Essay

- The Stonewall riots became a symbolic call to arms for many, it was gays and lesbians literally fighting back. After the riots many gay rights groups found new hope in gaining rights. New ideas, tactics, events and organizations were all a result of the riots. Shortly after the Stonewall Riots, it was time for the Annual Reminder, a picket in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This year seventy-five picketers showed up, their biggest turn out yet. The picket started out like the previous ones; the protesters marching silently in a single file line holding their signs....   [tags: stonewall riots, gay rights, lgbt]

Research Papers
605 words (1.7 pages)

The WTO Essay

- The Good, The Bad, The WTO On May 19,1948, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT was created. This was not an international organization but an inter-governmental treaty. This provided the framework for the conduct of international trade. But this expanded and grew yearly and in April 1994, in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations expanded on the GATT and created the World Trade Organization or WTO. The World Trade Organization was created with a goal and ultimate objective set in mind....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1322 words (3.8 pages)

Seattle's Downfall Essay

- The Pacific Northwest is like no other in steps to success and the Northwest we know currently. The discovery of Vancouver, and confrontation with British, the conflicts with Natives and solutions to those conflicts, as well as the growth and achievement of its largest city of the time, Seattle, helped create and enforce the society and economy of which we have today. However the settlement of the Washington and Oregon territories came after the settlement of the colony Vancouver, Canada. Firstly, the Forty-Ninth parallel is the line at which Canada and America are separated, is surpassed by southern most part of Canada, Vancouver....   [tags: Washington Seattle History]

Research Papers
1363 words (3.9 pages)

The Watts Riots Essay

- Imagine being born in a place where people don't mix with one another and keep to their own kind. Imagine not being able to walk into a store because it is white owned. How would it feel if you were black, lived in a city that was run by a white government, where poverty, unemployment and lack of education were all problems of everyday life. If everyone were treated equally, then it would not be a problem. But for inner city African Americans that isn't the case. As humans, there is only so much we can take when it comes to segregation before we act out....   [tags: American History Race Riots]

Research Papers
1391 words (4 pages)

Essay on The Los Angeles Riots of 1992

- “April 26th, 1992, there was a riot on the streets, tell me where were you!. You were sittin' home watchin' your TV, while I was paticipatin' in some anarchy,” these are the lyrics Sublime uses in their song ‘April 26, 1992’ to describe what happened during the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. “First spot we hit it was my liquor store. I finally got all that alcohol I can't afford. With red lights flashin' time to retire, And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire,” people ,running through the streets, had no pity when demolishing small businesses and taking what ever they may want from them....   [tags: LA Riots 1992]

Research Papers
1335 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on WTO

- WTO What is the WTO and what exactly do they do. This is the question that I was hoping to answer in this paper. In a world of turbulent econmic conditions it is important to no which organizations are responsible for what changes take place. There are many different organizations that affect many different things in our society and the global society and the WTO is one of them. The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. This organization deals with agreements that are negotiated and signed by the majority of the world’s trading nations....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
801 words (2.3 pages)

The motivations and intent of many of these groups in the WTO demonstrations differed significantly. Many non governmental organizations came with intentions to participate in the official meetings, while also planning educational and press events. The labor unions organized a large permitted rally and marched from Seattle Center to downtown.

Other organizations were more interested in taking direct action, especially civil disobedience to disrupt the meeting. These groups organized together as the Direct Action Network, with a plan to disrupt the meetings by blocking streets and intersections downtown to prevent representatives from reaching the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, where the meeting was going to be held. Though the group was a diverse one, it did settle on a basic motto of nonviolence, including: "We will not destroy property." However, certain activists, most notably a group of mostly-young anarchists, use a more confrontational strategy, and apparently planned deliberate vandalism of properties in downtown Seattle owned by multinational corporations, such as Nike, Starbucks, and various banks.

Damage costs for Seattle were very large. Ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of millions. Seattle has just recently settled a lawsuit with protesters for $250,000, over the WTO police riots. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said the police lacked probable cause to arrest the protesters outside a "no protest zone." Pechman said the police had done an "atrocious" job at record keeping, as well as citing the use of improper warrant and arrest procedures to round up protesters. The total cost to Seattle and surrounding suburbs was about $13 million, not including several pending lawsuits against the city for police brutality. The federal government reimbursed Seattle about $5 million.

Various painful weapons were used on the protesters during the demonstrations of the Seattle WTO riots. The police attacked thousands of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators and bystanders with pepper spray, tear gas, jack boots, truncheons, "flash-bang" grenades, wooden pellets, marbles and hard plastic bullets. Police violently attacked protesters with no provocation whatsoever. That was the case when they were beaten and sprayed, that was the case when downtown was flooded with gas, with helicopters flying overhead shining spotlights down into the crowd. Thousands of police forced protesters out of the downtown area firing canister after canister of tear gas into the crowd.

There were many cases of police brutality and injustices that happened during the non-violent protests. On December 3rd , in Seattle's International District, several eyewitnesses watched an officer attempt to apprehend "Richard" for questioning. Richard was among a small crowd of young African-American men, who immediately dispersed upon seeing the officer's approaching squad car. A short game of chase proceeded in an empty parking lot. Richard refused to comply to the officer's repeated demands to stop, instead he ran back and forth in the lot; he then tried to sprint up Jackson Street. As the officer was frustrated he accelerated his vehicle and ran Richard down. Richard suffered from broken bones. About six hundred of the estimated 50,000 demonstrators in Seattle were arbitrarily arrested for the flimsiest reasons. These people were predominantly middle class whites ranging in age from teenagers to an 83-year-old woman. At the jail, police unlawfully refused them access to lawyers and denied their requests to make phone calls. Others were denied food and water or blankets for hours. Many were not told of the charges against them, and some were physically mistreated. Two art school students were attacked by a sheriff's deputy with pepper spray while they videotaped World Trade Organization unrest from a car December 1999.

There were many forms of uniforms that the police wore during the riots. The most commonly used uniform was the riot gear set-up. They used different types of helmets like the tactical PASGT ballistic helmet which protects you from shrapnel and flying debris, the anti-riot tactical helmets which provides full head protection against rocks, sticks, bottles, acid, etc. made of tough high impact ABS black plastic, impact resistant polycarbonate face shield, adjustable interior webbing to fit all sizes. They also used paintball masks with scratch resistant polycarbonate face shield.
The police used anti-riot shields with tough polycarbonate shield provided full torso protection, aluminum handle, and a web arm strap. They also used tactical protective knee pads made out of cordura nylon over 1/2" foam padding, contoured rubber caps, secure velcro and elastic fasteners. Bulletproof vests were also used but were not needed.

The conclusion by many in Seattle was that the WTO convention was not worth hosting due to the economic damage caused by the protests. Controversy over the city's response to the protests resulted in the disgraceful resignation of Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, and arguably played a role in Schell's decision not to run for re-election in 2001. Similar tactics, on the part of both police and protesters, were repeated at subsequent meetings of the WTO, IMF/World Bank, Free Trade Area of the Americas, and other international organizations. The long-term impacts on WTO policies remained decidedly unclear, and it is an open question whether the WTO's actions since that time have been influenced by the WTO riots.


Return to 123HelpMe.com