- By Sebastian Lange
Video not playing on your mobile device? TRY HERE
Europe is currently gripped by protest fever
Anti-Government Protests (UK), Anti-Far-Right Protests (EU wide), Pro-Refugee aid (EU wide), Anti-Austerity (EU wide)
Protesters from a range of political groups have gathered in central Berlin for a protest against TTIP, a trade deal between the US and the European Union that critics say will benefit large corporations at the expense of average Europeans. Trade unions, environmental groups, charities and opposition parties were among the organizers of the rally, which went from the main railway station in central Berlin to the national parliament. The official turn out figure is highly debated with estimates averaging around the quarter of a million mark, whilst Berlin police who have been trying to down play the significance of the rallies claim the figure was between 150-200’000.
Protesters banged drums, blew whistles and held up posters reading “Yes, we can – Stop TTIP.”
One group dragged a giant Trojan, wooden horse, to demonstrate how the trade deal is being sneaked into law by corporate lobbyists and EU officials through subterfuge. The vast majority of the protesters are unhappy that TTIP could become law across all EU nations with no public vote in any country.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is meant to improve trade between the US and the EU, bringing tens of billions of Dollars/Euro in extra profits to businesses.
Critics fear that it would lead to worse safeguards in Europe, bringing down the higher standards for consumer safety, food and health and labor rights down to those much lower standards found in the USA.
European nations have stricter regulations for things like genetically modified foods and workers benefits than the USA does.
There is also discontent with the secretive nature of the negotiations, which prompts skeptics to assume the worst about the document they would eventually produce.
The protest also targets Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), essentially a TTIP style agreement between the EU and Canada.
Critics fear that the agreements when coupled with the USA’s TTP Pacific agreement would lead to a total western if not global domination by sub-standard US industries, leaving the citizens of small European nations with no say or control over how business in their own nation is conducted.
The current level of anti-USA sentiment in Germany is ever increasing and there is a clear growing mistrust of the US in Europe’s leading country amid the scandal over mass electronic surveillance of Germans’ communications and the escalating refugee crisis, which many see as a result of the endless invasions and failed foreign policies in the Middle East.