August 13, 2015
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Updated Nov. 30, 2023 at 12:10 p.m.
The sometimes violent protests against the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle is considered the birth of the No Global movement, which sought to bring attention to the harmful effects of globalization, especially on the most vulnerable.
The 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, sometimes dubbed the Battle For Seattle, was a series of protests surrounding the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999. The Conference was set to be the launch of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, but the clashes between demonstrators and the police and widespread destruction of private property soon took over everyone's attention.
On November 30th, after the first day of protests when downtown streets and intersections could not be cleared and many businesses were vandalized, the Governor declared a state of emergency. The protests were publicized worldwide, and the city was criticized for mishandling the protests and for being unprepared. Months of analysis followed, exploring issues surrounding the rights of free speech and assembly, abuse by law enforcement officers, and the mistreatment of individuals taken into custody. An estimated $20 million of damages were reported by private property owners.