WTO Protests A pivotal and premonitory moment for Seattle came with the collapse of the WTO meeting in the city in late-1999. The breakdown of talks was in part due to a raucous series of protests and events in the streets. A loose coalition of anarchists, environmentalists, labor unions, and immigrant groups combined forces to clog Seattle's streets for a few days. The heavy-handed police response furthered the disruptive goals of the protesters by creating confrontations and eventually riots. The protests preceded a series of violent confrontations around the globe in response to trade liberalization policies.