The Summit of the Americas and the Protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Latest News, 4/21 11:27 pm CDT:
Seattle 11:18pm EDT - The Indymedia newswire now says of the supposed FBI raid: "The FBI has visited the Seattle IMC and everything is cool and fine. There are no problems at this point. Please refrain from any rumors."
Quebec 10:20pm EDT - Audio: Darini Nicholes interviewing Celia Alario on some of the recent events and confirming that a medical station was shut down at gunpoint, tear gas can be smelled in the conference center, but summit meetings have not been cancelled.
Seattle 10:16pm EDT - The FBI are reported to have raided the Seattle Independent Media Center and to have a warrent to arrest Jonathan Jay who is the registar owner of the indymedia.org domain name. The reported reason for the raid is a posting that was written to the Montreal IMC site that wished harm to President Bush.
NOTE: Not long after this news appeared on the Indymedia FTAA newswire page, the page became inaccessible. As of 11:10pm CDT the page is back but any mention of the FBI raid is missing.
9:26 PM EDT - A Vermont IMC reporter offers this audio recap of the day in Quebec City.
Quebec 9:02pm EDT - This report says that Canadian police have shut down the medical center that is taking care of injured protesters.
Quebec 8:58pm EDT - Police Attack on Quebec Indymedia: This report says that that Canadian police have been spraying tear gas into the offices of the CMAQ, the Quebec Indymedia Center. CMAQ staffers are barricading their office with clothing to keep the tear gas at bay. Click here for an audio account from a CMAQ reporter.
U-C IMC Audio Report from the streets of Quebec City: U-C IMC reporter Peter Miller called in this afternoon to give us his report of what's going on.
Click here to listen to streaming mp3 (16kbps)
Click here to listen to broadcast quality mp3 (48 kbps)
Update 4/21 @ 1:10 AM:
U-C IMC's Danielle Chynoweth spoke with some of our reporters on the street in Quebec City on Friday afternoon after protestors broke through the perimeter fence. Tune in to hear more news along with these reports on the Illinois Labor Hour on community radio WEFT 90.1 FM at 11 AM Saturday, or listen to the reports on-line (all 16kbps streaming mp3):
Sascha Meinrath depicts the scene on the streets of Quebec City.
Molly Stentz describes the march that led to the perimeter fence Friday afternoon.
Sascha describes the variety of people in the march and protests.
Molly gives a quick description of some of the street theater going on.
Sascha reports on the breaking of the perimeter fence.
Molly tells what it was like when the police began to tear gas.
Molly describes how they recoverd from the gas and found safer ground.
Listen to the U-C IMC's 3rd report on the FTAA as aired on WEFT's Morning Menu Friday morning: Click here to listen to streaming mp3 (16kbps).
At 1:00 AM EDT reports coming in from the CMAQ media center state that 100 activists were chased onto a blocked highway by riot cops, and forced to either scramble down the 150 foot cliffs bordering the higway or to jump 25 feet to an underpass below to esape being gassed and beaten. It is unknown how many were arrested in the process, but many appear to have escaped. 200-300 people are now reported to be below the underpass where a sound system is playing. The cops have not moved in on them as of yet. Protesters are regarding this as a safe space for now.
From the Vermont IMC: First Day of Summit Ends In Chaos April 20, 2001, Quebec City: Intense demonstrations continued to escalate throughout the day. Teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and direct physical violence were used by police against demonstrators protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas. After massive clashes in the streets, it appeared that demonstrators had the upper hand. As night fell on the city, chaos loomed. Police lines were undefined, and areas declared as "safe zones" were attacked.
BREAKING NEWS 4/20 @ 3:20pm: The Wall Comes Down! Activists have managed to take down part of the wall in Quebec City. Activists have taken down a section of the wall and have gotten around 100 feed inside the security zone. Listen now LIVE! to reports from the street! Check out vermont.indymedia.org and the web radio for more reports from the streets!
Update April 20:
Yesterday's U-C IMC radio report on the FTAA, focusing on Canadian police response to the scheduled protests, is available for listening on-line. It first aired on WEFT's Thursday Morning Menu at 8:20 am.
Click here to listen to streaming mp3 (16kbps)
Click here to download broadcast quality mp3 (48kbps)
Curious about why people are protesting free trade? Read progressive economist Marc Weisbrot's commentary, entitled "It's Not About 'Free Trade.'"
Quebec Indymedia reports that reporters traveling from Winnipeg, Manitoba were detained by Quebec police and the RCMP for several hours on Wednesday.
Update April 19 1:00 PM:
The caravan of activists and journalists from Champaign-Urbana crossed the border at Detroit into Canada this morning between 12:30 AM and 8:00 AM. They are now in Toronto and heading towards Quebec City.
From the Global IMC: On Wednesday over 500 riot police came out to intimidate 75 protesters who blocked traffic and delivered caskets to a pre-FTAA cocktail party at the Conférence de Montréal.
Citizens of North, South and Central America plan to coverge to protest what is widely viewed as an undemocratic treaty being drafted by a closed, undemocratic organization. Bracing themselves for protests of Seattle-like proportions, Quebec and Canadian federal officials have set up a "wall" of protection around the summit along with stopping activists and journalists at the U.S. border.