skip to main content
caption: WTO protests in Seattle, November 30, 1999.
Enlarge Icon
WTO protests in Seattle, November 30, 1999.
Credit: Flickr Photo/Steve Kaiser (CC BY SA 2.0)/

KUOW at 65: The Battle in Seattle

In 1999 the World Trade Organization held it’s annual ministerial meeting in Seattle. President Clinton and other dignitaries came from around the world that November to advance the cause of free trade agreements.

But many people were skeptical. Street clashes shut down the opening meeting of the WTO ministerial conference on November 30. Here’s what KUOW sounded like on that day.

Featured in that reporting were Ken Vincent, Sam Eaton, Jason Paur, Steve Scher, Orlando de Guzman, Guy Nelson, Peter Aronson and Cathy DuChamp. That coverage won a National Headline award for breaking news.

The Battle in Seattle marked the beginning of a worldwide movement against increasing trade. There were major demonstrations at other trade meetings, but taking a lesson from Seattle, police kept demonstrators far away.

Echoes of the anti-world trade movement that began here are heard today in last year's Brexit vote, when Great Britain decided to leave the European Union, and Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. Presidency on a strong anti-trade agreement agenda.