Caught at the WTO

On Wednesday I headed to the no protest zone. People said I would be arrested on sight since the police had already swept up 200 protesters. There were police and National Guards in riot gear on every corner, and blocking many streets. I found 200 protesters in a drizzly intersection. We began to march, and the police blocked our action to the convention center, but let us march around. We met another contingent of 300 and marched until it was time for the labor rally at the docks. Many of us got impatient and about 1,000 began to march downtown.

As we approached the \”No Protest\” zone, police blocked our path, then tossed teargas grenades into the crowd. We retreated, and the police opened fire with rubber bullets. An armored car came down a side street and tried to block it. They blasted me in the face with a fire-extinguished sized container of pepper spray. I stumbled down the street, led by some of my friends who grabbed me. I was blinded for the next 10 minutes.

We decide to march north, the only direction open to us. As we crossed under a freeway, police attacked from the side and teargassed, but the wind blew it back at them. I was at the rear, and as I turned away, I was hit in the back with a rubber pellet shotgun. We managed to get to 1st street, but the police were closing in. They teargassed us along with many bystanders and motorists. We were now the captives of the police. Soon, city buses came, and they cuffed us one by one, dragging us on to the bus.

We were taken to Sand Point, where we sat for three hours, with no food, water, or bathroom facilities.

The police finally got to our bus, and told us they would physically remove us if we didn\’t leave when commanded. Given that choice, we took over the bus. At 3 a.m., they dragged us off the bus. We were given jail uniforms and wrist bands that said \”John WTO,\” since we refused to give our names.

We spent hours in holding cells, with only turkey baloney sandwiches. On Friday night, some of us were taken to court in Seattle. We were finally taken in to see the judge, and she decided to dismiss our charges, but gave the prosecutor two years to refile charges against us, since we refused to give our names.

The police told us to get our stuff and leave, but half of us returned and stayed in solidarity with the other WTO prisoners. Finally at midnight, we got to see our lawyers for the first time and we decided to use solidarity to clog the court system. We were released at 2 a.m. on Sunday, and all the others over the next 24 hours (except the dozen or so felonies).