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by Seattle Activists Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2000 at 11:28 AM

Seattle Activists Face Prohibition On WTO Anniversary Events By City

November 25, 2000

Committee For Local Government Accountability

Roundtable on Environmental and Economic Justice

December 1st Mass Filing Committee

Global Action Seattle Will Hold A Rally At The Parks Department Office (100 Dexter Avenue N)Today At Noon As They Attempt To Secure A Permit For Westlake Center For Their WTO Protest Anniversary Events On November 30th

There will be an attempt today by Global Action Seattle to apply for a permit for an event at Westlake Center for the WTO protest anniversary on November 30th. The chances of getting the permit is 0% if we consider statements made by Mayor Paul Schell and Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske last week at their press conference.

A rally will be held at noon while representatives from Global Action Seattle(GAS) apply for a permit from the City of Seattle. The Parks Department office is located at the north section of Denny Park.

Rally organizer and local businessman Chris Cain said today,

"Even unpopular forms of free speech are protected by the Bill of Rights."

He maintains that the city should allow protesters to congregate in what is supposed to be a public park to call for redress of grievances with the local government for last year's civil rights violations, and against the US government for signing on to the GATT and NAFTA treaties which created the WTO,IMF and World Bank.

A press conference will be held after the permit application has been filed.

Many of the anti-WTO protesters say that their constitutional rights are being violated by city and police officials who are using last year's mass protests during the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference to justify denying citizens their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

ACLU Executive Director Kathleen Taylor said in a recent statement:

"Any response by police and the city must assure that the rights to peacefully assemble and to express political views are respected."

One group of protest organizers has already been turned down by the city when they attempted to get a permit for Sunday, November 24th. For information on this denial of a permit for an election protest, contact David Springer, Bellevue Community College instructor:

(425)8883031/wildernessspring@aol.com (one of the organizers).

Marchers and rally organizers say that they will exercise their First Amendment rights on November 30th and December 1st, without permits, even if it means risking arrest. Training sessions are being held to teach activists about non-violent civil disobedience.

A call has gone out for international human rights observers from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to attend the WTO Protest Anniversary events. Activists claim that last year, civil and human rights abuses were not addressed by local government agencies. They cite an Amnesty International report to the UN Committee on Torture as evidence that the US violated the UN Declaration on Human rights during last year's protests. AI also refers to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the use of pepper spray at close range is "tanamount to torture". Organizers hope that this year the city and law enforcement agencies will ensure the public safety of all members of the community, including the protesters.

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