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Seattle Prepares For WTO, Raucous Protesters

SEATTLE: The World Trade Organization (WTO) hasn't even come to Seattle yet for its meeting, but protesters against trade regulations were in the streets this week. Police say at least three demonstrators have been arrested for trespassing and causing a disturbance. Representatives from 135 nations are coming to the WTO meeting in Seattle scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Calling WTO rules a "race to the bottom," protesters said that overseas sweatshops producing garments are abusive to low-wage workers. They hung a banner from the roof of an Old Navy store in downtown Seattle that accused the WTO of "corporate slavery" for allowing sweatshops. Protesters, who believe the WTO favors multinational corporations to the detriment of environmental protections, labor standards, and human rights say they plan to climb the outside of buildings, disrupt traffic, and create a general commotion. Seattle Municipal Court, preparing for possible mass arrests, is canceling all trials during the conference. Local courts are canceling most proceedings, including all jury trials, so jurors won't face the difficulty of getting to the downtown courthouse. Building operators downtown are increasing security, watching for attempts by protesters to get to rooftops.

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