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Thursday, November 20, 2003

Tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets
Forcing through something as awful as the FTAA requires extreme measures:

Police fired a concussion grenade and several cannisters of tear gas shortly before 10 a.m. this morning as large numbers of demonstrators, many wearing black clothing and some with bandannas across their faces, streamed through Miami streets.

Several protesters suffered bloody noses and bruised ribs during pushing and shoving matches with police. No significant acts of vandalism were reported. No disruptions erupted in outlying areas.

Officers used the tear gas and a concussion grenade during a brief skirmish with protesters on Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street, near the Hotel Inter-Continental, site of ongoing talks to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

One protester apparently was shot in the thigh with a rubber bullet. She was treated by medics associated with the protest groups....
''I think it's ridiculous,'' said Brendan Hoffman, 23, a protester affiliated with a non-profit group called Essential Action.

''This is all meant to prevent the public from interacting with public officials who are going to decide the future of the western hemisphere,'' he said. ``They think they can tell us what we want. It's not about bringing democracy, it's about freedom for large corporations to do whatever they want.''

From Global Exchange:
Negotiated behind closed doors, with little citizen input but plenty of suggestions from corporations, the FTAA is yet another example of the kind of free-market fundamentalism that has created a global race to the bottom that erodes environmental protection, workers' livelihoods, and human rights. If you think NAFTA has been a disaster for working families and the environment in the US, Canada, and Mexico, this will be far worse.

I'm feeling guilty right now because I'm not in Miami. Please help me out by doing something today to register your protest of the FTAA: Call Congress, write a letter to the editor, post something on your own blog, start your own little protest somewhere, give some money to Kucinich. I was in Chiapas last spring, and I know what NAFTA has done there. I live in Michigan, and I know what it has done here. Unless you're a filthy-rich greedy capitalist scumbag, NAFTA and the FTAA are bad for you, wherever you are.

You can read what Kucinich has to say about the FTAA here.

Don't let aWol and his poodle and Jacko and Scott and Kobe and the terrorists win by letting this issue slip by (that is, don't be like the major media). It's important to people throughout the hemisphere, including you!