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President Clinton convenes APEC summit on Blake Island on November 20, 1993.
On November 20, 1993, President William J. Clinton convenes a "summit" with 13 leaders of Pacific Rim nations attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, or APEC, in Seattle. The historic session is held in a Native American-style long house on Blake Island, a state park in Puget Sound, in Kitsap County. Salmon is served, and it doesn't rain.
File 5333: Full Text >
Mayor Schell advises Seattle business owners on October 29, 1999, of plans to handle protests during the upcoming WTO meeting.
On October 29, 1999, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell (1937-2014) writes an eight-page letter to Seattle business owners explaining the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial meeting planned to occur from November 30 to December 3, 1999. The letter describes the WTO, Seattle's role in hosting the meeting, and the impacts to downtown businesses of the event, which will be attended by more than 6,000 people from 135 countries.
File 2137: Full Text >
Governor Locke offers to send National Guard troops to Seattle to augment police during World Trade Organization (WTO) demonstrations on November 26, 1999.
On November 26, 1999, Washington Governor Gary Locke (b. 1950) offers to send National Guard troops to Seattle to augment Seattle police during expected demonstrations protesting the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will meet in Seattle from November 29 to December 3. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno offers the help of federal law enforcement officers.
File 2136: Full Text >
Protests in advance of the WTO conference in Seattle continue on November 28, 1999.
On Sunday, November 28, 1999, as trade officials from 135 member countries begin arriving in Seattle for the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), two anti-WTO demonstrations bring several hundred protestors to downtown Seattle. Street performers rally outside Starbucks, Old Navy, and the Gap to protest the WTO's enforcement of free trade rules that they claim favor corporate interests over those of workers and the environment, while farmers plant a tree as they demand that the WTO "keep its hands off agriculture." WTO Director-General Mike Moore addresses some of the organization's fiercest critics with a speech to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which is meeting in Seattle in advance of the conference. In the evening squatters take over an empty building at 9th Avenue and Virginia Street, announcing they will use it to house protestors and advocate for the homeless.
File 2138: Full Text >
Large but mostly non-confrontational protests greet the WTO in Seattle on November 29, 1999.
On Monday, November 29, 1999, one day before the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) officially opens, three large demonstrations rally against WTO policies. In the afternoon thousands of protestors, several hundred of them clad in bright green sea turtle costumes, march through downtown Seattle to denounce WTO "free trade" rules as harmful to the environment and animal welfare. As the environmental march disperses there are several brief stand-offs between police in riot gear and groups of protestors, but they end without incident. In the evening two marches converge on the Stadium Exhibition Center south of downtown, where WTO delegates are attending the conference's opening reception. Several hundred steelworkers and other union supporters protesting the WTO's labor policies join thousands organized by the Washington Association of Churches. They successfully form a human chain around the Exhibition Center to call on world leaders to cancel the debt owed by poor countries to international banks.
File 2143: Full Text >
After protestors fill the streets and shut down the WTO opening session, Mayor Paul Schell declares a state of emergency and police use tear gas and rubber bullets to clear downtown Seattle on November 30, 1999.
On Tuesday, November 30, 1999, thousands of direct action protestors achieve their well-publicized goal to "shut down the WTO" through nonviolent civil disobedience, forcing cancellation of the opening ceremonies of the World Trade Organization's Third Ministerial Conference in Seattle. Unprepared for the numbers of protestors, Seattle police use tear gas and pepper spray to clear some intersections.Tens of thousands more anti-WTO protestors rally at the Seattle Center, where environmentalists and students march to join a huge rally organized by the AFL-CIO. More than 35,000 march from the labor rally to downtown, where many join the crowds of protestors already in the streets. Roaming through the crowds, and taking advantage of the lack of police in most of downtown, a small group of black-clad, masked "anarchists" smashes windows, sprays graffiti, and vandalizes police cars. Despite scattered confrontations, the atmosphere in much of downtown remains largely calm into the afternoon. However, with streets still occupied by protestors, delegates unable to move freely, and President Clinton due in town that night, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell (1937-2014) declares a state of emergency and police begin using massive amounts of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and other "less lethal munitions" to move protestors, and anyone else who happens to be there, out of downtown. By evening, police have pushed large groups of protestors into the Capitol Hill neighborhood to the east, where confrontations continue late into the night.
File 2142: Full Text >
Police enforce a "no protest zone" around the WTO meeting in Seattle and arrest hundreds of demonstrators on December 1, 1999.
On Wednesday, December 1, 1999, following Tuesday's massive nonviolent civil disobedience that temporarily shut down the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and scattered vandalism of downtown businesses, Seattle officials enforce a "no protest zone" in 25 square blocks of downtown Seattle. Police and National Guard troops bar anyone with anti-WTO signs from entering the area and arrest hundreds of demonstrators, along with some bystanders and at least one WTO delegate. With the streets cleared of protestors, trade officials move freely between their hotels and the conference venues, where they continue negotiating agricultural subsidies and other contentious issues. President Bill Clinton (b. 1946), whose presence was a major reason for the crackdown, travels empty streets as he meets with union and environmental leaders who organized the large, peaceful protests and calls on the WTO to include labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. In a repeat of Tuesday, as darkness falls police use tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion bombs to force protestors and bystanders off downtown streets, driving many protestors onto Capitol Hill, where major confrontations continue into the early morning hours for the second night in a row.
File 2141: Full Text >
Seattle authorities ease crackdown as peaceful protests against the WTO (and earlier police tactics) proceed on December 2, 1999.
On Thursday, December 2, 1999, police abandon the rubber bullets, tear gas, and other forceful tactics used during the past two days to quell protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO). Hundreds of demonstrators protest peacefully against both the WTO and the prior police conduct and call for the release of those arrested earlier (only two are arrested on Thursday). President Bill Clinton (b. 1946), whose presence had been a major reason for the crackdown, leaves Seattle after signing a treaty aimed at eliminating egregious forms of child labor. Many of the day's demonstrations focus more on the police and the "no protest zone" imposed by the City than on the WTO, but a waterfront farmers' rally condemns the trade organization for its support of corporate agriculture and genetic engineering.
File 2140: Full Text >
After a week of protests and controversy, World Trade Organization talks in Seattle fail on December 3, 1999.
On Friday, December 3, 1999, trade negotiations fail and the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ends without achieving its goal of reaching agreement on an agenda for the next round of international trade negotiations. Although massive protests against the WTO and the forceful police response have overshadowed negotiations inside the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, it turns out that the deep divisions reflected in the streets are also present among trade officials. Delegates from poorer, less developed countries are angered at being excluded from key discussions, but in the end it is disagreements between the richest countries, specifically the United States and the European Union, over the issue of agicultural subsidies that bring the talks down. As delegates debate, several thousand demonstrators march in a final anti-WTO protest organized by the Teamsters union. Hundreds gather outside the Westin Hotel and the King County Jail to demand the release of protestors arrested earlier, where they cheer and dance upon hearing that the WTO talks have collapsed.
File 2139: Full Text >
Norm Stamper resigns as Seattle Police Chief on December 6, 1999, in wake of WTO unrest.
On December 6, 1999, Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper announces that he will resign and that he takes full responsibility for the unrest which closed the Central Business District and disrupted World Trade Organization (WTO) talks that took place in Seattle from November 29 to December 3, 1999.
File 2144: Full Text >
Seattle City Council hearing on WTO unrest, the first, lasts eight hours on December 8, 1999.
On December 8, 1999, the Seattle City Council opens hearings into failures by Seattle police and civilian officials in planning for and dealing with protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the week of November 30, 1999. The meeting room at the Seattle Public Library, which accommodates 200 persons, is quickly filled for the 4:00 p.m. meeting. Speakers line up out the doors and around the block in a pouring rain for a chance at three minutes to testify.
File 2146: Full Text >
Seattle City Council hearing into WTO unrest, the second, lasts 10 hours on December 14, 1999.
On December 14, 1999, the Seattle City Council holds the second of its hearings into the unrest surrounding the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting during the week of November 30, 1999. The council hears some 175 witnesses during the 10-hour hearing. Approximately 200 people attend the hearing held in the Seattle Center Pavilion.
File 2147: Full Text >
Terrorism fears and post-WTO jitters snuff out Seattle Center millennium eve celebration on December 31, 1999.
On December 31, 1999, Mayor Paul Schell closes Seattle Center and orders a massive force of 895 police officers and 320 fire fighters on alert for possible terrorist attacks and WTO-style anarchy. Although the traditional Space Needle fireworks program occurs, Seattle is alone among the world's major cities in canceling a public observance of the "new millennium."
File 2991: Full Text >
Seattle municipal court judge dismisses WTO gas mask case on February 17, 2000.
On February 17, 2000, a municipal court judge dismisses criminal charges against a man accused of violating the emergency order prohibiting the possession of "devices commonly known as gas masks" during the period of unrest surrounding the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting which occurred in late November and early December, 1999, in Seattle.
File 2145: Full Text >
World Trade Organization (WTO) opponents commemorate 1999 protests in Seattle on November 30, 2000.
On November 30, 2000, opponents of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) commemorate 1999 protests in Seattle with several marches downtown. The marchers tie up traffic, occupy the Westlake Mall area for several hours, wander up to Capitol Hill, and then return to the downtown area. After hours of largely peaceful protest, Seattle Police arrest approximately 140 persons who fail to comply with a dispersal order. One police captain is seriously injured by a thrown object.
File 2881: Full Text >