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The BBC's Oliver Scott talks to crane protester John Sellars of the Ruckus Society
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Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 11:47 GMT
In pictures: The WTO protests

Anarchists, environmentalists, union members, human rights activitsts and religious groups have descended on Seattle with a common purpose - to protest against the World Trade Organisation, which is meeting in the American city this week.

An estimated 50,000 anti-WTO activists want to get across their message that free trade is not fair trade.




Protesters believe the WTO has too much power to advance globalisation at the expense of democracy. They say WTO pacts can overrule laws enacted by member nations that protect health, human rights and the environment.



Activists and advocacy groups are concerned that disputes are nutted out behind closed doors, with no opportunity for appeal.



Environmentalists fear reduced tariffs on paper and wooden furniture will boost consumer demand, which in turn would intensify deforestation and hurt wildlife.



The War Resisters League says military spending has been exempt from WTO rules, creating arms buildups in developing countries.





A protester tries to hand flowers to a police officer during a demonstration. Among the concerns voiced is that WTO policies discourage developing countries from producing generic drugs to fight AIDS.



A protester watches the crowds rallying in downtown Seattle. Among the protesters are Wiccans, feminist neo-pagan lovers of nature and magic, who say the WTO values free trade over the Goddess.



A Seattle police officer in riot gear stands guard next to a fence holding back protesters.



Cheri Honkala is arrested after trying to break through police lines outside the Washington State Trade and Convention Center.

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See also:
30 Nov 99 |  Americas
Protests overshadow WTO talks
26 Nov 99 |  UK
Online activists plan global protest
28 Nov 99 |  Europe
Protests against trade talks

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