Seattle’s WTO trade protests still relevant 20 years later

SEATTLE (AP) — Saturday marks 20 years since tens of thousands of protesters converged on Seattle and disrupted a major meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Officials from 135 nations had gathered in Seattle for a conference intended to launch a new round of talks to reduce trade barriers.

The city had lobbied to host the meeting because Washington is one of the nation’s most trade-dependent states, with Boeing planes, Microsoft software and agricultural products like apples and cherries making up significant exports.

The protesters’ message was amplified not just by their vast numbers but by the response of overwhelmed police, who fired tear gas and plastic bullets and arrested nearly 600 people.

Two decades later, many of their causes are still relevant.

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