Around 6,000 demonstrators in Amsterdam showed their support for Wallonia on Saturday. Wallonia is currently opposing CETA and is blocking the signature of the free-trade treaty between the EU and Canada, the organisers said.
This demonstration comes after Canada called on the EU to “finish its job” on CETA, the day after negotiations between Wallonia and Ottawa failed. Wallonia is against the treaty, and Ottawa is “very disappointed” by the delays on the European side.
“Wallonia had a debate and decided, as we did, that the treaty is not yet good enough. We are very grateful to the Walloons. Thanks to their resistance, the Netherlands can continue to call for honest and lasting trade”, says Jurjen van den Burgh, the coordinator of the TTIPAlarm coalition. He was quoted in a press release.
The demonstrators assembled on Museumplein, the large square the Rijksmuseum stands on. There were “farmers, entrepreneurs, Union members, young people, consumers, scientists, jurists and environmental and animal activists from all over the country” present at the demonstration. They were there to oppose CETA, TTIP (Transatlantic Treaty between the US and the EU) and the Service Trade Agreement (TISA), the press release said.
TTIPAlarm, which organised the event, includes the central Dutch Union FNV, the NGO Greenpeace, the Transnational Institute research centre and the Dutch Consumer Rights Association Consumentenbond.
After speeches by these organisations, the demonstrators marched through the city. They carried slogans like “Our world is not for sale” “Our future is not merchandise”, and “Stop bad trade treaties”. Images were posted on social media.
“The Dutch government and the European Commission put the interests of multi-national companies before those of citizens and society, and that is unacceptable! These agreements are a threat to our State of law, public health and environment”, says Mr Van den Bergh.
“Once they are signed, it will be difficult to get out. We can still stop them, but it has to be now”, he said.