The water in the bottles was brown and cloudy, but this protest was not about the oil disaster in the Gulf but a potential mining operation in El Salvador.
The bottles of murky water were props for street theater put on by the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and Seattle CISPES, an El Salvador solidarity group, as part of a protest May 27 over Rep. Jim McDermott's (D-Seattle) lack of support for the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act.
The protesters' focus centered on a mine in El Salvador proposed by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation, which would use water and cyanide to extract gold. The mine would be sited in the basin of El Salvador's largest river, causing a coalition of groups to raise concerns about the mine's impact on drinking water. The Salvadoran government denied Pacific Rim mining permits, but the company is now suing the country for hundreds of millions of dollars of lost potential profits. The Canadian company was able to do this under the U.S.