BERLIN: Demonstrators took to the streets across Germany on Saturday in protest over a massive transatlantic trade deal, dealing a new blow to the disputed accord.
In Berlin, as in Munich, there was a sea of flags as people flocked to join the rallies despite the rain, carrying placards and banners representing dozens of anti-globalisation groups, NGOs, political parties and unions, AFP correspondents said.
“People are not letting their mood be ruined” by the weather, a spokeswoman for the organisers, Kathrin Ottovay, told AFP.
Roland Suess from anti-globalisation group Attac had earlier told AFP they expected 250,000 people to turn out in seven major German cities — including around 80,000 in Berlin.
Participants waved banners demanding “democracy instead of TTIP” and “share, don´t divide.”
The European Union and the United States began negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in 2013, aiming to create the world´s biggest free trade market of 850 million consumers.
A new round of talks is due to start in October and US President Barack Obama wants the deal concluded before he leaves office in January.
A smaller version of TTIP is also in the works with Canada, and that deal, called CETA, is due to be signed in October.
Exporters are in favour of the deal as it promises lower tariffs, less red tape and a wider base of consumers for their goods.
But the negotiations have faced opposition in Europe, where consumers fear it would ride roughshod over the 28-nation bloc´s labour market and environmental standards, and lead to more outsourcing and thereby job losses.
Another prickly issue is the plans for a special court to hear cases by companies against governments over breaches of regulatory issues, which opponents see as giving firms a veto over public policy.
Protesters rally across Germany against mega trade deal
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