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The Seattle Robo Cops were out in force yesterday, this time to protect the Microsoft Redmond, Washington campus from 60 or so anarchist protestors. Two dozen police, dressed in full riot gear (and boy do those guys look mean) faced down 60 marchers protesting the "globalization of corporate power" and what they called -- AP gingerly reports -- "Microsoft's monopolistic practices". Fresh from their triumphant display of community policing at the World Trade Organisation talks 29 November to 3 December, Seattle's Finest were this time in no mood to take prisoners. Except for one guy, arrested for ignoring orders to stay out of a verboten street. In the blandest of bland statements, Microsoft spokesman Dan Leach said: "We respect everyone's right to express their views." Yes, but did the MS security guards really need to call on paramilitary back-up to display respect for the constitutional rights of their 60 adversaries? So what were the marchers protesting about, again? Over to AP for the quotes: "I think it's important that we constantly remind institutions of power that there's people out there questioning that power," protester David Hyde told KIRO-TV." The marchers said they represented Direct Action Network, organisers behind last year's WTO demo in Seattle which turned into a $2.5 million carnival of destruction, and left a huge black mark on the city's reputation. ®

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