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Complexity and Irony in Policing and Protesting: The World Trade Organization in Seattle
Social Justice (2000)
  • Patrick F. Gillham, Western Washington University
  • Gary T. Marx
During a large demonstration against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, tear gas fired by police affected many WTO delegates, shoppers, and city officials, but was relatively ineffective against protesters who had brought their own gas masks. As a result, police escalated their use of force, including the use of rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Initially, as police pushed against the lines of demonstrators, the nonviolent activists closed ranks and locked arms tightly. The more the police pushed, the more resilient the line became. However, the demonstrators' success in blocking police and WTO delegates also inhibited other demonstrators from moving to new locations and blocked their own medics from reaching the injured. The degree of secrecy accompanying the preparations of both police and protesters, while believed to be strategic, also inhibited cooperation with allies.
  • WTO Seattle,
  • Direct-action demonstrations,
  • Protesting
Publication Date
Summer 2000
Publisher Statement
Published by: Social Justice/Global Options Stable URL:
Citation Information
Patrick F. Gillham and Gary T. Marx. "Complexity and Irony in Policing and Protesting: The World Trade Organization in Seattle" Social Justice Vol. 27 Iss. 2 (2000)
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