Anti-Globalization Protest at the Heart of Capitalism on November 29, 1999

In Seattle there were large-scale demonstrations against economic globalization and free markets. The action broke out on 30 November 1999, exactly today 20 years ago, when more than 40 thousand mass-people surrounded the streets of Seattle for four days. The target is the International Trade Organization (WTO) which is holding a Ministerial Conference.

Tens of thousands of people, consisting of various civil alliances, students, industrial workers, farmers, and anarchist groups, tried to intervene in the meeting. The masses assume that the concept of free trade, which is nothing but a guideline for WTO work, is only an extension of greedy multinationals. In addition, the policies of the WTO, along with the World Bank and the IMF, are seen as causing labor and environmental damage.

The action that initially took place in peace then turned hot. Interlocking fights between security officers and protesters are inevitable. The masses divided and damaged Starbucks, Bank of America outlets, and anything that was seen as a symbol of capitalism.

The officers responded with no less repressive behavior: throwing clubs, firing tear gas, and arresting hundreds of people from the crowd because they were considered to spread provocation. Seattle’s streets are like a battlefield.

The impact of the riots was no joke: material losses were estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. However, no less important: the protest also succeeded in canceling the event which had been arranged so neatly by the WTO.