Starbucks stores vandalized


Associated Press

SEATTLE – Vandals attacked nine Starbucks Coffee Co. stores, putting the city on edge as it prepared for the anniversary todayt of last year’s riotous World Trade Organization protests.

The stores, among dozens throughout the city, sustained minor damage late Tuesday or early Wednesday – broken windows, glue in locks and walls spray-painted with an encircled “A,” a graffiti tag used by anarchists during WTO demonstrations last year.

There was no evidence linking the vandalism to protesters, police said.

Starbucks will be taking extra security measures, Dave Owen, a senior vice president at the Seattle-based chain, said in a written statement. A spokesman refused to elaborate.

Meanwhile, Mayor Paul Schell urged television news stations to broadcast as little of last year’s events as possible.

“We believe the constant repetition of those images simply builds up any tension that might arise this year,” said Schell’s spokesman, Dick Lilly.

Authorities have been anxious to avoid a repeat of last year, when 50,000 protesters crammed downtown and shut down some sessions of the WTO session. The WTO, a trade alliance of about 140 countries, has become a target for a wide range of activists who believe it represents corporate globalization and short shrift for the environment and workers.

Overwhelmed Seattle police responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets and closing off much of downtown. The ensuing riots resulted in 600 arrests, $3 million in property damage, numerous civil-rights lawsuits and the police chief’s sudden early retirement.

By all accounts, this year’s protests on Nov. 30, “N30” in protester parlance, will be smaller because there won’t be any world trade conference to disrupt.

Generous estimates predict as many as 5,000 demonstrators, many of whom said they plan to converge on Westlake Park downtown. Police have asked them not to protest there because they may disrupt shoppers and another scheduled event.

Lilly said there was no way to tell whether the Starbucks vandalism was an indication of things to come.

“It’s disturbing there were anarchist symbols,” he said.

Jean Buskin, a 52-year-old Seattle biochemist coordinating anniversary protests, said the vandalism was a shame because Starbucks has been receptive to activists’ arguments and now offers certified fair-trade coffee.

Buskin said she expected no violence today.

The mayor’s spokesman said people should be wary of protesters who goad police in attempting to draw attention to their cause.

“In order to prove government is bad, it’s not a bad idea to be attacked by government or by police,” Lilly said.

While demonstrators are expected to come from near and far, several organizations have decided to sit this one out. Among them are members of the Machinists union at Boeing, who turned out by the thousands with their families last year. Machinists spokesman Tim Flynn said the workers still want fair, environmentally responsible trade, but have their differences with some of the protest groups.

“Boeing exports planes all over the world. The Machinists are very trade-dependent, so there’s a bit of a nuance there that’s different from the other parties involved,” Flynn said.

Some environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Seattle Audubon Society and the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, are also staying away. They say they weren’t getting anywhere with the WTO.

Helen Ross, conservation coordinator for Seattle Audubon, said her group is focusing instead on working with individual companies to persuade them to offer environmentally friendly goods.

“WTO is certainly still a threat to conservation efforts,” Ross said. “But our focus has shifted because a lot of their discussions have stalled.”


Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.s

Most Read