Pepper spray, mass arrests mark WTO anniversary

By LUIS CABRERA

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A daylong demonstration to mark the anniversary of the riotous protest that stalled World Trade Organization meetings last year deteriorated Thursday night, with police using pepper spray and announcing they were arresting about 100 people.

Shortly before 10 p.m., police who had sandwiched a group of about 100 protesters between two lines of officers on Fourth Avenue told those in the crowd they were “all under arrest.”

The group included legal observers and a reporter.

One police captain suffered minor injuries earlier when he was hit by an object thrown by a someone in the crowd, a city spokesman said.

The largely peaceful protest became a confrontation shortly before 9 p.m., when a group of up to 300 protesters refused to leave a downtown intersection.

After police told the crowd three times to disperse, officers used pepper spray to move the crowd, city spokesman Larry Vogel said.

“Police did issue three orders to disperse the crowd blocking the street, three separate orders to disperse,” Vogel said. “And then they moved the crowd.”

Within 45 minutes, the size of the crowd appeared to have dwindled to about 100, and police ordered everyone in the crowd to sit down and face arrest.

At least four arrests were reported earlier in the evening with several earlier in the day. There were no reports of injuries among the demonstrators.

Earlier in the day, the demonstrators were mostly peaceful and at times light-hearted – a far cry from the tear gas, riot squads, chained protesters and chaos of a year before, when 50,000 demonstrators overwhelmed the downtown core.

“There’s nothing to shut down this year. This was a celebration,” protester John Watson of Seattles said then.

Salesman John Ward was stuck in the gridlocked traffic.

“It’s kind of interesting and colorful. It’s frustrating for a downtown worker though, to be stuck in it.”

Jeanette Wallis, a march peacekeeper in a special yellow-and-orange vest, said she was not surprised police did not block marchers who failed to get a parade permit from the city.

“We have a tradition in this town that we usually can march without being teargassed,” she said.

Among those arrested early in the day were a man and woman allegedly jumping up and down on a police car, and a 30-year-old Seattle man who allegedly sent threatening e-mail to public officials. Police also took a man into custody for putting profane stickers on the windows of the upscale clothing store Anthropologie, but it was not clear whether he was formally arrested.

KIRO-TV aired footage of what it described as a group of undercover officers scuffling with a protester. One dropped his service revolver in the crowd, quickly turned and picked it up.

The marchers, tossing confetti and small scraps of paper with anti-WTO slogans on them, had gathered earlier on Capitol Hill, a mile to the east.

The lack of a WTO meeting to protest may have kept the numbers down and discouraged clashes with authorities.

Earlier Thursday, police Chief Gil Kerlikowske provided a three-officer motorcycle escort for a cardboard anniversary cake – 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide – that was hand-carried to Westlake Park by about a half-dozen activists from a nearby anniversary barbecue.

Kerlikowske replaced Chief Norm Stamper, who announced his early retirement after last year’s protests resulted in 600 arrests, $3 million in property damage and numerous civil-rights lawsuits.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commercial vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.