Berlin: „Stop TTIP and CETA! For Fair Global Trade” – Along those lines, today about 250,000 people protested against the free trade agreements between the EU and the US (TTIP) and Canada (CETA). Never before have more people gone to the streets for this issue. The number of participants by far exceeded the organizers’ expectations. A wide alliance of civil society groups had called for the mass protest.
„Today is an important day for democracy“ the organizers declared. The demonstration is sending a clear signal: “We are standing up against TTIP and CETA. Together we defend our democracy and march in the streets for fair and just trade. The TTIP negotiations, based on the current mandate, have to be stopped. The present CETA contract must not be ratified the way it is now”, they continued.
During the demonstration in Berlin, numerous speakers requested from the EU Commission, the German Government, the Bundestag and from all other EU member states to take the protesters’ demands seriously. International contracts have to be negotiated in a transparent manner and have to protect democracy and the rule of law. They must not be oriented toward company interests! Together protesters demanded to secure and expand labor, social, environmental and consumer rights. Only with a fair global trade system, social equity, an environmentally responsible economy and cultural diversity can be enforced.
Accompanied by 25 theme and sound trucks, a colorful protest march with imaginative slogans, banners and flags moved from Berlin main station to the Siegessäule, passing the building of the Reichstag. On the second stage speakers like Reiner Hoffmann (President of the DGB), Gesine Schwan (President of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform), Hubert Weiger (President of Friends of the Earth Germany – BUND), Christian Höppner (President of the German Cultural Council) and Ulrich Schneider (Chief Executive of the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband) presented their views.
A broad alliance of more than 170 organizations from almost all sectors of the society had called for the demonstration: environmental, development and social politics, democracy, culture, citizens’ and consumer rights and trade unions. Among the groups of the smaller organizational body were the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Attac, the German Cultural Council, Campact, the Partitätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, foodwatch, Mehr Demokratie, Bread for the World, Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of Nature Germany.
Already on Wednesday, more than 3 million signatures against TTIP and CETA had been handed to the EU Commission. They had been collected during the last year all across Europe in the context of the European Citizen Initiative “Stop TTIP”. The initiative had been self-organized after the EU Commission had declined an official European Citizen Initiative. With 3 million signatures, “Stop TTIP” has more signees than any other European Citizen Initiative.
The alliance of civil society groups
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