WTO Accountability Committee interview With Pavlos

Seattle, Aug 8 2000 — Pavlos is a 35 year old self-employed computer instructor who lives in Denver. He was interviewed by telephone on speakerphone with staffer Chris Neman listening.

He saw events on three days starting Tuesday, but we focused largely on events at 6th and Pike where he was a street medic.

Pavlos claims the first use of tear gas began at about 0915 without warnings or dispersal notice from police. He saw when arriving groups of demonstrators blocking the intersection in "lockdown" style by inserting arms in PVC tubes. He emphasized that there was an expectation that demonstrators would be arrested and taken away, not gassed. His argument is that force used to disperse was at all times disproportionate to the challenge faced by police. He saw use of pepper spray, initially, followed by use of tear gas and rubber bullets (he defined rubber bullets as including 00 buckshot sized balls, as well as paintball sized and larger bullets, some 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter.

"I heard occasional calls for dispersal, but no attempt to arrest. Just the use of gas."

"I saw chemical-caused injuries, as well as bleeding injuries, blood trauma, bruising, non broken-skin injuries. I saw persons struck in the kidneys in particular. I saw persons hit in the eye, and some who lost teeth when hit by various projectiles."

He also witnessed events at 8th and Stewart. Stavros said he did not personally see officers raise batons above the shoulder, but is personally convinced that occurred. One woman in particular on Wednesday was hit at short range by a tear gas canister or other projectile, and had "microfractures of the jaw", later confirmed by Xray.

He says he saw no specifically provocative behavior. Demonstrators sang, blocked the street, and successfully disrupted the conference, "but nothing warranted the degree of force used by police". He says although it was clear the street had to be cleared, the demonstrators expected paddy wagons and mass arrests. "We saw no need for the amount of force used."

"Police were numerically overwhelmed, and they panicked. And they used tactics they had no practiced previously. But they got hands-on experience in Seattle"

"The police offered no avenue of escape. It was an effort not to disperse, but to punish the crowds."

Pavlos Stavropolous is an anarchist, and refused to dissociate himself from behavior of particular demonstrators, saying those are matters of personal choice.

"No one should have power over anyone else. I believe in direct democracy. All forms of hierarchy should be abolished. I do not consider property destruction as violence, although I do not chose to engage in property destruction."

Source

Compton, Jim (2000-08-08). WTO Accountability Review Committee: Pavlos Stavropolous Interview. http://www.seattle.gov/wtocommittee/interviews.htm#pavlos

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