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 Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 12:31 GMT
Seattle curfew for second night
Mr Clinton said the WTO should do more to win over its critics
Mr Clinton said the WTO should do more to win over its critics
Seattle is once again under an overnight curfew after clashes between police and demonstrators as President Bill Clinton addressed the world trade summit.

Reports said 400 people had been arrested by nightfall on Wednesday, after several tense standoffs between police and groups of hardcore protestors. Police fired teargas and wielded truncheons but the clashes were less intense than on Tuesday.

Mr Clinton gave peaceful demonstrators his backing and urged the summit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to allow ordinary people a greater say in talks on world trade.

The battle for free trade
"If the WTO wants more support, the public must see and hear and join in the deliberations. That's the only way they can know it's fair," he said.

In a free society, people want to be heard

Bill Clinton
Earlier Mr Clinton told a gathering of farmers in Seattle that the peaceful demonstrators were continuing "the best American tradition". However, he condemned those responsible for violence.

The demonstrators represent a wide spectrum of causes, ranging from concern about the impact of global trade on labour rights and the environment, to opposition to the influence of international organisations and big business.

City authorities said a state of civil emergency imposed after Tuesday's rioting would continue until the conference ends.

Open up the process

Trade unionists are worried about jobs
Trade unionists are worried about jobs
Addressing the WTO Mr Clinton said that the sooner the WTO opened up the process and let the people outside in on its deliberations, the sooner it would achieve a broader level of public support for free trade.

"In a free society, people want to be heard," he said.

In his speech to the summit, he told the WTO it needed to make a better job of arguing its case for liberalising trade.

He said this case rested on two points - that free trade made the world both more prosperous and safer.

Responsibility of the rich

Mr Clinton said richer countries should ensure that the developing world had better access to world markets, and had a responsibility to see that workers in those countries benefited.

There have been many arrests
There have been many arrests
He was quoted by a Seattle newspaper as saying that sanctions should be imposed against countries that did not abide by agreed labour standards, a position strongly criticised by developing countries.

President Clinton also said that rich countries should help poorer countries make use of environmentally clean technologies and gain access to the drugs they needed to fight disease.

"The United States will henceforward implement trade policies that make sure countries won't have to go without medicine they desperately need," he said.

Police sealed off President Clinton's hotel for a period after a group of demonstrators broke through police lines and approached it, before being pushed back by police firing tear gas.

White House officials said President Clinton would stick to his plans to stay in the hotel for the remainder of the evening.

Seattle Mayor Paul Schell made it illegal on Wednesday to purchase, sell or carry a gas mask within the city limits, Offenders are liable to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

He defended police handling of the protests saying that no-one was seriously injured, and that much worse could have occurred.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Robert Pigott
"Seattle police had to use force in the battle for control"
  President Clinton
"There are negative forces I have tried to combat"
  UK Trade and Industry minister Richard Caborn
"Trade will continue, it is how you manage it"
  Gabriel Sayegh, Direct Action Network
"We may be disrputing the city, but the WTO is doing more than disrupting traffic"
See also:

02 Dec 99 | Americas
02 Dec 99 | Business
02 Dec 99 | Business
01 Dec 99 | Battle for Free Trade
01 Dec 99 | Americas
01 Dec 99 | UK
23 Nov 99 | Battle for Free Trade
24 Nov 99 | Battle for Free Trade
23 Nov 99 | Battle for Free Trade
Internet links:


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