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, all carrying placards and banners representing dozens of anti-globalization groups, NGOs, political parties and unions.
Protesters say that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will lower European standards on food and environmental protection, and could lead to outsourcing and job-losses. The demonstrators were also protesting against a similar deal with Canada.
“CETA and TTIP threaten environmental and consumer protection for millions of people in Europe and North America,” said Jennifer Morgan, co-executive director of Greenpeace International. “These agreements will weaken food safety laws, environmental legislation, banking regulations and undermine the sovereign powers of nations.”
— Jennifer Morgan (@climatemorgan) September 17, 2016
With large rallies in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and other cities, the crowds have been estimated at anywhere from 250,000 to 320,000 nationwide.
U.S. President Barack Obama has vowed to see the deal approved. And despite widespread opposition German Chancellor Angela Merkel also remains supportive.
But as the BBC put it:
“‘I want us to get rid of TTIP and for European social and environmental standards to be respected, maintained and improved,’ said Peter Clausing in Berlin.
“Many demonstrators think the deal would lead to exploitation of people by businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
“‘It will be the enterprises and banks that will have power over people worldwide,’ said Tobias Kuhn. ‘That is a no-go. People need to know that and we will protest until there’s no chance of that happening anymore.’”