archives of global protests

A20 Seattle
Montlake Banner Drop - Activists say FTAA Opposes Democracy
by ForestEthics 9:46am Fri Apr 20 '01

[indymedia seattle]

Local groups deploy giant banner made famous during WTO protests

Fair trade, forest protection and social justice activists allied with Seattle-based groups ForestEthics and Pressurepoint unfurled a giant banner this morning to protest the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The banner greeted rush hour traffic from an overpass above Highway 520 east of Montlake Blvd NE and featured two opposing arrows, one labeled "FTAA" and the other labeled "Democracy."

Originally used in November 1999 to inaugurate protests here against the World Trade Organization (WTO), the 60 feet wide, 40 feet high, banner signaled the beginning of Seattle area anti-FTAA protests.

"The FTAA would impose further corporate tyranny, not democracy, across the Americas," said Aaron Jackson of ForestEthics. "That would mean more environmental devastation, lower wages and less freedom for citizens throughout the Western Hemisphere."

"The FTAA is another example of the push to elevate corporate rights over human rights and the environment," said Sarah Wright of Pressurepoint. "It would spread the terrible mistake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) throughout the Western Hemisphere, dramatically increasing inequality and environmental destruction."

If the FTAA agreement is adopted, major provisions of NAFTA would apply throughout the Western Hemisphere. The U.S., Mexico and Canada adopted NAFTA in 1994. One of its major provisions allows corporations to sue for compensation over governmental action to protect workers or the environment.

Over the next several days in Quebec City, Canada, key FTAA provisions will be negotiated in secret with no input from citizens potentially affected by the agreement. As a result, thousands are expected to protest in Quebec City and along the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.

"With this banner we stand together with thousands of ordinary citizens who believe that people and the environment are more important than corporate profits," said local activist Matt Leonard.

An anti-FTAA march will begin at 5 p.m. today, City Hall Park, 3rd & Yesler. An anti-FTAA rally is planned for tomorrow at the Peace Arch in Blaine, WA, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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