Early reports - WTO protests

From "Me Uh, K." <pram512@yahoo.com>
Date Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:17:02 -0800 (PST)

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There's a certain tension in the air that's prevalent
before most riots, and it's heavy in the downtown
Seattle air this morning.  With more than 2 hours left
before the confrence even officially starts, I don't
have the highest hopes for today.

Oddly, this feeling of impending doom doesn't come
from the protestors or the police, but the few
National Gaurdsmen wandering around, and those whose
morning commute has been disrupted by those who are
all ready out and in the rain, chanting and sitting on
wet cement, fighting for what they believe in.

The sunshine that held all weekend broke last night,
the rain coming in just as things started to get tense
with the additional population that comes with the

The national gaurd, though trained for situations like
this, seems off-put by having to be working so early,
irritated by the rain, and ready to spring into
action, suppressing riots left and right.

Our local police though, seem cheerful enough, eager
to help anyone with questions, directions, and
instructions.  They've also been well informed about
who is supposed to be where, which groups are
protesting when, and even cracked jokes with me this
morning.  They're just as interested as everyone else
in keeping things non-violent.

The protestors themselves seem varied, anywhere from
cranky and soaked to a self-satisfied and contented
wet.  They know they'll keep this up all day, and a
little early morning rain isn't going to bother most
of them.  It is, after all, too early to get

But the commuters.  If there was ever a group of
people waiting to trigger a riot, it's them.  In the
space of just a few blocks, I saw buisnessmen shouting
insults at protestors, forcing their way through
intersections blocked by sitting protestors, and
asking the police why they didn't just arrest
everyone.  Sooner or later, one of them is probably
going to throw a rock or a punch, or the wrong insult,
and that's going to be that.

The upside of expecting any violent action on the
streets today to come from middle-class commuters is
there's only a few hours to worry about it.  After
all, once they're tucked into their cubicles, they
don't care what happens on the street.  Of course, I'm
not really that optomistic, that pre-riot tension is a
hard thing to shake, and will only get worse as the
day progresses.

Hoping for (but not expecting) a peaceful day of
marches and chanting,

-mia k.  (who's going back out there now because she
hasn't been teargassed since that halloween party
three years ago, and that wasn't even her fault)

ps.- I'm not actually sure if they ARE National Gaurd,
(I don't recognize their rain-gear) but I know for
sure that they're not Seattle PD, National Guard
becomes the next logical choice).  I vaugely remember
someone telling me the Nationals were expected to come
in and support the local police, but I'm not sure.  At
any rate, whoever they are, they're pissed as hell
about having to watch over a bunch of protestors at
8:AM on a rainy tuesday.
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