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News ::
seattle still in lala land
30 Nov 2000
listen to description of protestors symbols
Vandals Hit Seattle Starbucks Stores

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Vandals smashed windows and spray painted anarchist symbols at nine Seattle Starbucks Corp.(SBUX.O) coffee shops on Wednesday, on the eve of marches to
commemorate raucous anti-free trade protests a year ago.

During last year's marches against World Trade Organization
meetings here, which were marred by over 600 arrests and
widespread looting, vandals struck several downtown Seattle
Starbucks stores.
"No one has claimed or disclaimed credit," said Dave Olsen,
senior vice president for corporate social responsibility at
the Seattle-based roaster, which has boosted its coffee buying from environmentally safer and labor-friendly farms.

"To the extent that someone is trying to make a point, we
are a very well known, highly visible, successful company. It's fairly logical that someone who wanted to get himself in the news might look to us as an avenue to do that," Olsen said. Starbucks has beefed up security at its 90 Seattle area
stores, but Olsen declined to outline specifics.

Among the graffiti painted on some of the stores was the
upper case "A" in a circle used by the shadowy, black-clad
self-styled anarchists to mark their destructive work during
last year's riots.

None of the damaged shops were in downtown Seattle and all
area Starbucks outlets were open for business on Wednesday,
Olsen said.

Starbucks has undertaken programs to buy "shade-grown"
coffee from Mexican farms that preserve local forests and
reduce pesticide use and has worked with labor rights groups
that ensure farmers earn living wages.

"We want to reaffirm that this by no means impedes our
commitment to continue to try to make our business count for
something relative to people's lives and the environment where our coffee is grown," Olsen told Reuters.

"We're a lot more interested in considered dialogue where
groups can sit down and share their differences and find a way to move forward," Olsen added.
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