12/3/99 - Seattle, USA
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 99 15:57:43 -0800
Subject: 12/3/99 - Seattle, USA
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From: Albert Kaufman <AlbertK@acadio.com>
Greetings from Seattle. Just got back from today's march. Some people are
still at it and I believe downtown is closed off in the center of the City.
Today I had an interesting conversation with some police officers who said
that the cannon I heard on Tues. when tear-gas filled the streets and moved
thousands out of downtown quickly - were actually stinging balls - a large
ball is fired and that releases thousands of tinier balls. This is meant
to scare people and send them scattering.
Anyway, today's (Friday) march started at the Labor Temple and there were
probably about 7-10,000 people there. There were lots of students and it
was great to see a contingent from the University of WA Law School there.
The speakers started with two local rabbis who talked about the beginning
of Hannukah this evening and how all of the candles to be lit tonight were
dedicated to liberation and to our causes. One rabbi also talked about the
history of Hannukah and how it directly relates to the demonstrations on
the streets of Seattle this week.
Some of the speakers who spoke were - Larry Gossett - our County Council
member and a few youth (who spoke passionately about youths' involvement in
this weeks events and how many people had landed in jail) and members of
the Native American community. The Native American council finally blessed
the march in a native tounge and though people in the back were shouting
for us to move/march, it was a solumn moment for those of us in the front.
Also, the Seattle Labor Chorus sang before the speakers and got the crowd
The march was peaceful and people on the sidelines cheered us on. I was
lucky and bumped into someone playing electric guitar and so I borrowed it
and sang a couple songs with the crowd around me. Nothing like walking down
the middle of the street playing guitar with people surrounding you.
Today is the last march and though there are activities scheduled for this
evening and tomorrow, I don't think we'll see these kinds of numbers or the
diversity of the crowd as we did today for a while. A lot of people I spoke
to were flying out tonight and this march had more of a local flavor than
many of the others. More of the people I was meeting were from Seattle than
at the other two marches I attended.
We finally reached 4th and Union after about an hour and were supposed to
turn around at that point to get back to the Labor Temple, but people just
decided they wanted to stay. Again, protesters were in a stand-off with a
police line. I took that time to go talk to some police to ask some
questions and just check in with their mood. They seemed in good humor and
I'm hoping things stay peaceful.
I think a lot of people are tired (I know I am), but also happy at what
transpired here this week. The people made a difference. Many people met
people from other movements and marched together and there was a great
unification and understanding that most of our struggles are related. I
hope the WTO and others heard our voices.
Some of the websites that are up about this week are just fantastic. I've
been turning to Indymedia in Seattle for up to the minute reports. Many of
my friends are doing the reporting and I'm very proud of them.
Hope this is useful information for you.
PS - please feel free to send this to others.
© 1999 Peter Langston