In the aftermath of the massive protests in Seattle last week around 570 protestors remain in police custody today and many may not be released for another week.
Attached below is a recent message from a supporter of one of the prisoners - picked up on an internet mailing list - concerning conditions in the Naval base in which the protestors are being held.
The report is followed by a press release calling for an email campaign to Seattle City authorities to call for the protestors release.
The message contains allegations of police abuse, doping of prisoners food and other abuses of civil and political rights.
According to the prisoners many of them will not be released until December 13th and some later. They will appear on a range of charges, mostly trivial, in relation to the protests.
Police have admitted that most of the masked, organised, protestors who smashed property in downtown Seattle were not arrested during their security crackdown.
Friday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer - a Seattle Daily Newspaper - reported that the focus of most protests in Seattle had moved from being the WTO to the issue of civil rights. In particular residents in the city's Capitol Hill neighbourhood have been outraged at being teargassed in their beds in the middle of the night.
Subject: Update on jailed protesters
I talked with B this morning. It seems our expectation that the police would be forced to let the hundreds of jailed protesters go was wrong- only maybe 30 have been released, the others are being arraigned and charged even though they are still refusing to give their names, and their access to lawyers is limited.
Court dates have been set- the majority for Dec 13th, but some as late as April 1. Some are being charged with "failure to disperse" "obstruction of traffic" "failure to obey" and some are being charged with ridiculous felonies such as "assaulting police" and "stealing" (this charge when they swapped ID's to confuse the police before arrest).
B has been charged with "failure to disperse" She was in a peaceful protest, not in the "no-protest zone" and not in violation of curfew. They were told to disperse, and then attacked with tear gas and surrounded by billy club, and pepper spray-wielding cops from the front and behind, so there was no way to disperse. They were running everywhere, and then were chased and cornered and arrested.
Again I will reiterate the request that you try calling, emailing, and mailing the Mayor, Governor and Chief of police. The numbers appear below. Again, don't mention the names of the people in jail.
There have been several instances of police brutality in the jails and in transport from the Navy brig to the jail. People have had their faces slammed into walls, been pepper sprayed in the eyes and groin after being thrown to the floor of the bus- causing convulsions and vomiting. And I know this sounds wacky, but B and everyone with her suspects the food of being doped because of aftereffects from eating it.
B is fine, and she said morale is still good. And in her particular group, in general they are not being mistreated. However, it is very up in the air what will happen with their charges. I'll keep you posted as I hear more. Please contact the people below- there is also a sample letter.
please distribute widely
WTO PROTESTERS HAVE THEIR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATED! PROTESTERS BRUTALIZED, DENIED MEDICAL ATTENTION, DENIED ACCESS TO FOOD, WATER AND LEGAL CONSUL
DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE APPROXIMATELY 600 PEACEFUL PROTESTERS ILLEGALLY ARRESTED BY SEATTLE POLICE IN ANTI-WTO DEMONSTRATIONS! DEMAND ALL CHARGES BE DROPPED!
CALL AND EMAIL SEATTLE MAYOR PAUL SCHELL 206-684-4000 email@example.com
CALL AND EMAIL SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF NORM STAMPER 206-684-5577 firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL AND EMAIL WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR GARY LOCKE 360-753-6780 email@example.com
TELL THEM THAT WTO OR NOT - THE U.S. CONSTITUTION STILL APPLIES!
The world has watched as tens of thousands of non-violent protesters have filled the streets of Seattle in a historic confrontation between civil society and the corporate rule of the World Trade Organization. Resistance to the anti-democratic rules of the WTO has unified activists from many movements and from around the world to galvanize a new movement to challenge corporate domination of the planet.
Tuesday November 30th, the first day of the WTO ministerial meeting, Seattle was faced with one of the most effective mass direct actions in recent history. Thousands of people organized themselves into blockades and shut down every entrance to the meeting site, forcing the cancellation of the WTO's opening ceremonies.
The police were completely overwhelmed by this mass citizen's uprising and despite its peaceful character responded with raw brutality. Thousands of non-violent protesters were teargassed, pepper sprayed, bombarded with concussion grenades and shot with plastic bullets. Despite the shocking amount of force used by the police, demonstrators held the streets throughout the duration of the day. That night Seattle Mayor Paul Schell and Washington State Governor Gary declared a 7 pm curfew and mobilized the National Guard.
On Wednesday December 1 the city of Seattle awoke to discover their constitutional rights had been cancelled overnight. The center of Seattle around the WTO meeting had been declared a "no-protest zone" where anyone who exercised their right to free speech or peaceful assembly was subject to immediate arrest. Undaunted by the "state of emergency" (aka martial law) demonstrators traveled to early morning assembly points but were met by police check points where signs, banners, cell phones and communications equipment was illegally confiscated. Still demonstrators refused to give in and marched into the "no-protest zone" where hundreds were arrested, many after being pepper sprayed or teargassed numerous times.
Many of these courageous activists are still being held. Their civil and human rights have been blatantly violated. Many were kept on police buses overnight, denied access to medical attention, denied food and water and denied legal counsel for over 24 hours.
They need our help. The officials behind these monstrous actions must be held accountable. Call and email them and demand that the protesters be immediately released and that all charges be dropped.
DEFEND DEMOCRACY BY DENOUNCING POLICE BRUTALITY AND MARTIAL LAW!
SAMPLE EMAIL (cut and paste into new message) - or express your outrage in your own words!
Dear Mayor Schell/Governor Locke/Police Chief Stamper
I am shocked and outraged to see the atrocious way your administration has treated the tens of thousands of non-violent anti-WTO protesters. It is simply unacceptable in a democratic and free society to use tear gas, pepper spray and plastic bullets against peaceful protesters who are exercising their constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
The fact that the Seattle police force continues to violate the basic civil and human rights of the hundreds of protesters still in custody is equally distasteful. By leaving protestors on buses overnight and denying them access to food, water, medical attention and legal consul your police force has violated some of the most basic traditions upon which are legal system is based.
I demand that you immediately release all of the protesters and drop all of the charges against them. I also demand that you resign from your office to show your acknowledgement that your repressive treatment of non-violent protesters is an embarrassment to all Americans and the democratic principles on which this country was founded.
name address phone number