20 years later, KNKX reporters remember the WTO as more than the ‘Battle in Seattle’ | KNKX

20 years later, KNKX reporters remember the WTO as more than the ‘Battle in Seattle’

Dec 6, 2019

Advocates for fair trade are gathering Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the WTO meeting that became known as the Battle in Seattle. The World Trade Organization gathering made front page news around the world, with scenes of police controlling protestors with tear gas and pepper spray.

Those images are the ones seared into many people’s memories, but there was a lot more to it. From the new coalition between labor leaders and environmental activists, to concerns about intellectual property and genetically modified organisms, the issues raised by global trade ignited passionate debates and lengthy teach-ins for the entire week. All this, despite the drama of a curfew and "no protest zone" imposed on the city after protests became violent.

KNKX reporters Paula Wissel and Bellamy Pailthorp were among the media covering the events 20 years ago.They went through several hours of analog recordings in the station's archives and sat down in our studios to share some memories.   

Seattle police clear an intersection of World Trade Organization protesters at Sixth and University Streets on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 1999, in Seattle. Thousands of protesters took to the street to try and stop the WTO meeting.
Credit Stevan Morgain / The Associated Press (file)

In course of reporting this piece, KNKX digitized some of the archived audio from 20 years ago, including the nightly special reports produced by our station (formerly KPLU.)

We called it "The World Comes To Seattle."