Activists shine light on free-trade deals architects

7 November 2016

A wave of civil disobedience by activists across Europe shed light on the European Commission, corporate lobbyists and governments for their role in pushing free trade deals such as CETA (EU-Canada) and TTIP (EU-US).

The actions took place in response to a call to participate in Round 2 of TTIP Game Over, a civil disobedient action platform calling for an end to all free trade deals. The call is supported by trade unions, farmers groups and NGOs from across Europe.

Camille, spokesperson for the platform said "Happily tucked away in the Brussels bubble, lobbyists, governments and the European Commission have been pushing their free-trade agenda in the belief they could ignore the mass protest across the continent. But with more than 40 different actions, ranging from subversive postering to occupying lobbies to storming the European Council, they're now squarely in the spotlight and have nowhere to hide. We've had enough of their free trade ideology and the world that goes with it, and we think it is legitimate to break the law to stop it." 

Round 2 was falling within the 'Autumn of Action' called for by groups and organisations fighting CETA and TTIP. It coincided with the Continental Day for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism in Latin America on the 4th of November. 

"The days of action were a huge success and showed that the movement against free trade now has real teeth to it. Hundreds of thousands marched, millions signed petitions and more than 2,500 communes, towns and regions are TTIP and CETA free zones, but the free trade juggernaut keeps powering forward." Said Camille. "Now we're taking it a step further, and judging by the breadth and diversity of organisations supporting TTIP Game Over, the movement against CETA, TTIP and all free trade deals is only going to get stronger."

Coinciding with the UN climate talks in Marrakech, many of the actions targeted actors lobbying for TTIP and CETA so they could extract more fossil fuels, such as ExxonMobil and their lobby consultancy Burson-Masteller. Law firm Sidley Austin, who is helping TransCanada sue the US over the Keystone XL Pipeline [1], was also targeted.

A full list of actions carried out by the different affinity groups participating can be found on the TTIP Game Over website.

Some highlights include:

Brandwashing: replacing corporate adverts with political artworks across Brussels
TTIP Go On: 250 activists decided to invite themselves to the Thursday after-work drinks between lobbyists and eurocrats. Activists sang the now famous song 'Do you hear the people sing', decorated Place Luxembourg and declared it TTIP-free, before having a party.
EZLN - nature vs Bayer: 150 people disguised as animals ambushed the head offices of Bayer
Crane banner drop: banner dropped from crane opposite the European Commission reminiscent of the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle 1999
Nesting in FoodDrinkEurope: activists dressed as US factory-farmed animals make their nest in the Agribusiness lobby.

 

NOTES

[1] TransCanada is claiming $15 billion in compensation from the US using the Investor to State Dispute Settlement mechanism within the the investment chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after President Obama turned down the Keystone XL pipeline which was intended to transport tar sands - the most polluting fossil fuel - from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, massively increasing the production of tar sands. For more information read our report 'Oil corporations vs Climate'.