Seattle protests influence John Kerry trade speech venue

Seattle officials told Secretary of State John Kerry he’d be better off avoiding the Emerald City to deliver a major trade speech because of ongoing protests over Arctic drilling that have drawn hundreds of activists on land and sea.

Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw says State Department staffers had been looking at Seattle locations for Kerry to speak, including a downtown hotel. But the Port advised the State Department to look elsewhere because of the Arctic drilling demonstrations.

Kerry was to speak Tuesday morning at a Boeing Co. plant in Renton, about 12 miles south of Seattle.

The speech as planned for more than a week, but the State Department didn’t announce the venue until Monday. That’s the same day hundreds of activists marched to a Port of Seattle facility where a massive Royal Dutch Shell drill rig will be loaded.