nettimes_roving_reporter on Sun, 10 Oct 1999 04:35:15 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Seattle theater backs out of anti-WTO event reservation


   Posted at 12:26 a.m. PDT; Saturday, October 9, 1999
   Paramount drops curtain on WTO protesters, cites 'security reasons' 
by Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter

   Citing security reasons, the Paramount Theatre has denied a months-old
   reservation request from groups critical of the World Trade
   Organization because the trade organization has reservations at the
   theater the following two days.
   Global Trade Watch, the Humane Society and the Animal Welfare
   Institute said that in June they requested the theater for Nov. 28 to
   hold an educational and cultural event opposing WTO policies.
   The groups claim the WTO promotes activities inhumane to animals and
   undermines environmental laws, according to Michael Dolan, deputy
   director of Global Trade Watch, a branch of Ralph Nader's Public
   Citizen, a consumer-rights group based in Washington, D.C.
   Yesterday, the groups were informed by Paramount management that the
   WTO had reservations for Nov. 29-30 and that the downtown Seattle
   theater would be unable to accommodate both reservation requests.
   "It was done strictly for security reasons," said Patrick Harrison, a
   spokesman for the theater's owners. Paramount officials did not
   specify the nature of those security concerns.
   Harrison said the protest groups had requested the theater but did not
   have a confirmed reservation. But Benjamin White, a spokesman for the
   Animal Welfare Institute, said Paramount officials confirmed the
   reservation verbally.
   "They told us very specifically just a few days ago that we had the
   reservation and there was no problem," White said.
   Dolan said that in denying the groups' reservation request, Paramount
   officials claimed they could not host WTO protesters on one night and
   the WTO the next.
   The theater is one of many WTO venues in Seattle in the days before
   and during the convention.
   "They told us the FBI came in and told us to pull our reservation,"
   Dolan said. Opposition groups speculated that the FBI feared the
   theater could be booby-trapped.
   An FBI spokesman said he could not comment on any security measures
   related to the four-day WTO ministerial convention Nov. 30 through
   Dec. 3.
   The WTO is a regulatory organization that makes rules governing trade
   among its 134 member countries.
   Environmentalists, labor groups and groups with social concerns are
   among the organizations that oppose many WTO policies.
   Thousands of activists from numerous protest groups plan to converge
   on Seattle during the WTO summit.
   "It just seems so unfair," White said. "There should be equal access
   (to the Paramount) for everyone, not just for the one that's bigger."
   Copyright  1999 The Seattle Times Company

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