Re: WTO the rampage!

Robert S. Thau (
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 21:15:07 -0500 (EST)

Karee Swift writes:
> In all respects, looking at some of the recaps of this Seattle clueless
> riot. The cops (given the situation, and the elements of craziness on all
> ends) seemed to be handling themselves with a certain level of restraint.
> No one has died yet.

No, but Wednesday night, the cops did charge down a busy street in a
residential neighborhood, lobbing tear gas and rubber bullets into a
crowd consisting almost entirely of area residents, who weren't
protesting anything at the time. That they weren't using metal
bullets is, I suppose, a certain level of restraint, but some (for
instance, the Seattle city councilman who was gassed when he
approached the cops to attempt to negotiate) might wonder if it is a
*commendable* level of restratint. (My source for this is the
Thursday morning broadcast of Morning Edition on NPR).

That said, today's coverage in the New York Times does paint a very
strange picture of the goings-on on both sides. On the one hand, we
have the self-proclaimed anarchists in black uniforms (and since when
do anarchists wear uniforms?) deliberately smashing things --- to the
point that the non-violent protesters found themselves in the very
uncomfortable position of physically defending Nike-town; on the
other hand, we have the cops who, rather than arresting the (by all
accounts) relatively small numbers of truly violent protesters,
instead ringed the secure conference facilities and dealt with
everyone on the streets with tear gas. Most peculiar.