WTO Director Hit by Cream Pies
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS
.c The Associated Press
GENEVA (AP) -- About 20 environmentalists threw cream pies Friday at the chief
of the World Trade Organization.
WTO Director-General Renato Ruggiero had just given a speech at the Royal
Institute of International Affairs in London when the pies flew. More than one
hit Ruggiero, said WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell.
``When they have no more rational arguments, the fringe elements have to use
cake,'' Ruggiero said in a one-sentence statement from his Geneva
headquarters. In his speech, he had been defending a WTO decision to overturn
U.S. attempts to protect endangered sea turtles from shrimp fishermen.
A group calling itself the Biotic Baking Brigade later issued a statement
saying its pie throwers sent ``a sticky message to Ruggiero and the global
elite: To those who wish to dominate the world, the world replies, `Let them
eat humble pie.'''
Someone from the group approached Ruggiero with what appeared to be a present,
Rockwell said, ``but I told him to get out of the way.''
``Then one guy shoved the pie hard into his face and another brought a second
down on top of his head,'' accusing him of being a turtle-killer, Rockwell
Rockwell, who was by Ruggiero's side, expressed concern about the ``very
threatening and hostile'' attack on the 69-year-old Ruggiero.
The WTO drew the ire of environmental groups two weeks ago by ruling that the
United States cannot force shrimp-exporting countries to fit their fleets with
$75 devices that protect turtles.
Rockwell said Ruggiero, who received heavy bodyguard protection when he was
Italy's trade minister in the 1980s, was ``extraordinarily calm.''
``The first thing he said was, `This is not a bad cake!''' Rockwell told The
Associated Press. The flavor of the pie wasn't known, he said.
No police or guards were present. Ruggiero wasn't hurt in the attack and
police weren't called, said George Joffe, acting director of the institute.
A person claiming to be a member of the Biotic Baking Brigade slapped Nobel
Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman in the face with a coconut cream pie
in San Francisco on Oct. 9. That pie-thrower was arrested for misdemeanor
battery and released.
In February, pranksters in Brussels, Belgium, hit Microsoft Corp. chairman
Bill Gates with three pies. Procter & Gamble chairman John Pepper was pied
less than two weeks later in Columbus, Ohio, by animal rights activists.
Last November, designer Oscar de la Renta was hit with a tofu cream pie while
signing autographs at a shopping mall in suburban Portland, Ore.