Manchester protest targets secretive EU-US trade deal dubbed ‘democracy disaster’

Mancunians will take to the streets on Saturday to protest against a secretive EU-US Trade deal which campaigners say will put the NHS at risk of privatisation.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if made law, would reduce regulatory barriers in trade for big corporations, making it easier to buy and sell goods between the EU and the US.

More than 180,000 people have signed an online petition against the deal, while voters across Manchester are being encouraged to get in touch with their local MEPs, asking them to voice their concerns in European Parliament.

David Babbs, executive director at 38 Degrees, one of the UK’s biggest campaigning companies, said: “People in the North West will be standing with thousands of people across the country to say that we love our NHS too much to let it be sold off to the highest bidder.

“It’s time for MEPs to answer our concerns and explain exactly what they’re going to do to stop this.”

FAIR TRADE? TTIP protesters put on a puppet show in July 

Concurrent protests are taking place all over the country, with London, Leeds and Liverpool as well as Blackpool, Reading, Brighton and Scottish cities Glasgow and Edinburgh just some of the other locations hosting demonstrations against TTIP tomorrow.

Previous Manchester protests in July against TTIP saw a corporate culture-targeting puppet show staged in the city centre.

The deal would also allow companies to sue the Government, should they pass any new laws which harm their profits.

A similar agreement in Canada has seen the Government issued lawsuits that topped $200million for banning fracking, while Australia has been sued for introducing plain cigarette packaging and Egypt has been targeted in the courts for introducing a minimum wage.

Campaigners from the Manchester World Development Movement say that the deal threatens the environment, food, democracy and public services.

NO TTIP-ING: Protesters have targeted the issue over a longer campaign

Stephen Pennells of MWDM said: “The threat of being sued would damage the ability of the British government to make decisions in the public interest.

“The TTIP deal would be a disaster for democracy and it would put services like the NHS and education at risk.

“But it’s even more serious as it includes food and environmental standards which could lead to genetically modified foods, hormone-fed meat and chlorinated chicken forced onto our markets, along with food additives currently illegal in Europe.”

He also claims that schools could be forced to lift bans on pop and unhealthy sweets and fracking would be given the go ahead.

He added: “Awareness of the deal has grown quickly over the last few months, with concern about its promoting of fracking.  

“People are horrified by it but we believe that together we can win this campaign and stop TTIP.”

A panel discussion and public debate will also take place at Manchester University on November 4.

The campaigners will assemble outside Selfridges on Corporation Street in Manchester City Centre at 11am tomorrow.

For more information, click here or to sign the online petition, visit here.

Image courtesy of OccupyMCR with thanks

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