Around 2,100 people from different European countries demonstrated in Brussels on Saturday. They were demonstrating against the TTIP transatlantic trade treaty and European austerity policies. The demonstration was the last round of three days of international protests, with a protest planned during the European summit on Thursday and discussion workshops on Friday.
The cortege left the Place du Luxembourg, and stopped at the Place de la Monnaie. There were no incidents during the demonstration.
The activists were protesting against the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). This project involves, among other things, the abandon or reduction of customs rights and a harmonisation of the rules concerning exported and imported merchandise. The aim is to help products circulate more freely from one part of the Atlantic to the other. The opponents, who have been protesting for months, are worried the TTIP will create lawlessness and increase multinational company’s power. They are also concerned national governments will lose their decision power.
“Free-exchange agreements like the TTIP are a threat to our democracy”, says Mia van Dongen from Climaxi, one of the participating organisations. “These agreements are negotiated behind closed doors, and the population or their representatives cannot give an opinion”.
The demonstrators also criticised the European Union’s “austerity policy”.