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N30 2000: Protests Cost Seattly $550,000

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  • Clore Daniel C
    WTO anniversary protests cost Seattle $555,000 Wednesday, December 13, 2000 From The Associated Press SEATTLE -- World Trade Organization anniversary events
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2000
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      WTO anniversary protests cost Seattle $555,000

      Wednesday, December 13, 2000

      From The Associated Press

      SEATTLE -- World Trade Organization anniversary events cost
      the city more than $555,000 in police and firefighter
      overtime and other expenses, officials said.

      Debate over the effectiveness of police, who made 142
      arrests during the protests Nov. 30, arose Monday at a City
      Council briefing by Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and Deputy
      Mayor Maud Daudon.

      WTO meetings that began Nov. 30, 1999, were disrupted by
      demonstrations involving thousands of people. More than 500
      people were arrested over several days and property damage
      was estimated at $3 million.

      About 2,500 people attended a daylong commemoration last
      month. The arrests, including three people charged with
      felonies, followed isolated incidents in which a police car
      was damaged and some protesters threw objects, one of which
      may have blinded police Capt. Ron Mochizuki in one eye.

      Council members generally said Kerlikowske handled the
      anniversary protests far better than his predecessor, Norm
      Stamper, had dealt with WTO, but council members Nick Licata
      and Judy Nicastro said American Civil Liberties Union
      representatives, labor leaders and activists deserved equal
      time on the agenda.

      Licata said police ordered some protesters to disperse, then
      blocked their escape and arrested them.

      "We may have a situation where we may not have needed to
      arrest so many people," Licata said.

      Kerlikowske said one hour and 45 minutes elapsed between the
      time of the first dispersal order and the containment and
      arrests several blocks away. Anyone who wanted to avoid
      arrest had ample opportunity to leave the area.

      Licata also complained about the emphasis given to the cost
      of policing what was largely a nonviolent protest.

      "There is no price tag we put on free speech," he said.

      "There is too a price -- Ron Mochizuki is paying it," shot
      back Council President Margaret Pageler.

      "That is a personal price tag, not a direct result of the
      expression of free speech," Licata retorted. "To identify
      people who are committing crimes with those who are
      expressing free speech, I consider that an insult."

      --
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      Dan Clore

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