Protesters march through Brussels demanding a halt to trans-Atlantic trade deals they say will hit standards and give more power to big business.
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Several thousand protesters marched through Brussels on Tuesday (September 20) to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-Atlantic free trade deals they say will lower standards and allow big business to challenge governments. Organisers, including unions, environmental and consumer groups and public health insurers, said between 10,000 and 15,000 headed to the European quarter of Brussels by early evening. Police put the number at 6,000. Their targets were the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which the EU and U.S. are still negotiating, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a deal struck between the EU and Canada and awaiting approval. Protesters staged a flash mob style mass clapping followed by a performance of the revolutionary song "Do you hear the people sing" from the musical drama The Miserables. Greenpeace activists in chemical protection suits spray painted No TTIP and No CETA on the roads before several tractors led a large crowd carrying placards to the European Commission, which is responsible for negotiating trade deals. Two large inflatable horses, one labelled TTIP, the other CETA, were placed outside the building. Critics say that CETA is a Trojan horse that will let in the larger TTIP accord. There is a growing backlash in the West against free trade and globalisation, which critics blame for factory closures and depressed wages. Anti-TTIP and CETA groups say the trade deals would hand more power to multinationals and depress food, environmental and labour standards.