Some 5,000 environmentalists, farmers, and other French citizens marched through Paris on Saturday to demand that the World Trade Organization put people before profits at its ministerial meeting that begins in Seattle tomorrow. Activists in Seattle have already picked up the torch and begun demonstrating, holding rallies, and attending teach-ins. More than 50,000 protestors are expected to take to the streets in Seattle this week to oppose the environmental degradation and other serious social and cultural ills they say are caused by the WTO and its free trade policies. Enviros are particularly concerned about a proposal on the table to slash tariffs on wood products, which would likely increase logging in the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. American enviros also fear that once tariffs are cut, the WTO will go after so-called “non-tariff barriers” to wood-products trade, which could include the Endangered Species Act and laws requiring a certain amount of recycled content in government-purchased paper goods.

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