On November 30, 1999, more than 40,000 protesters forced the cancellation of opening ceremonies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference being held in Seattle, Washington. The conflict earned the nickname the “Battle in Seattle.”
 
The protests were led by anti-globalization advocates. The anti-globalization movement opposes what it interprets as the unregulated power of multinational corporations. Protesters think that through free trade agreements and organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), companies are able to reduce labor, environmental, and safety standards. Critics also think free-trade slows the operation of a free-market economy.
 
Although the anti-globalization movement had organized protests at meetings of the World Bank and IMF for more than a decade, police and WTO organizers were unprepared for the scale of the protests in Seattle. Protesters broke windows and looted the retail outlets of many multinational corporations, such as Starbucks, Bank of America, and Banana Republic. The conflict caused millions of dollars in damage before troops from the National Guard and neighboring police units ended the protests and the WTO meeting continued as planned.
advocate
Noun

person who speaks, writes, or otherwise supports a person, idea, or cause.

cancel
Verb

to stop a planned event.

conflict
Noun

a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

damage
Noun

harm that reduces usefulness or value.

decade
Noun

10 years.

environment
Noun

conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

free-market economy
Noun

system where the distribution of goods and services, as well as prices, are largely determined by supply and demand.

free trade
Noun

international exchange of goods and services without taxes or other fees.

Noun

connection of different parts of the world resulting in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Noun
international economic organization whose mission is "to help ensure stability in the international system. It does so in three ways: keeping track of the global economy and the economies of member countries; lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and giving practical help to members."
interpret
Verb

to explain or understand the meaning of something.

labor
Noun

work or employment.

loot
Verb

to steal or take something illegally.

movement
Noun

group of people or organizations with a common set of interests and plan for pursuing them.

multinational corporation
Noun

business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.

National Guard
Noun

military force controlled by a U.S. state but funded by the federal government and called up as part of the Army during national emergencies.

organize
Verb

to coordinate and give structure to.

police
Noun

local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

prepare
Verb

to assemble or get ready for something.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

reduce
Verb

to lower or lessen.

regulate
Verb

to determine and administer a set of rules for an activity.

retail
Adjective

having to do with the sale of finished goods to consumers.

scale
Noun

distinctive relative size, extent, or degree.

troop
Noun

a soldier.

World Bank
Noun

United Nations organization that loans money to poor and developing nations.

World Trade Organization (WTO)
Noun

group that works with governments and international organizations to regulate trade and resolve trade disputes between countries.

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