250,000 march in Berlin against trade pact, austerity

berlin_1022Organizers reported that 250,000 people marched in Berlin on Oct. 10 to protest the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and its Canadian equivalent, CETA [the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement]. Like the Trans-Pacific Pact before the U.S. Congress, both are to be shoved through Parliament in Germany with little discussion of their contents. The vote is to follow years of top-secret sessions involving big business experts and lobbyists. The TTIP is expected to cost jobs, reduce the already inadequate environmental protections and increase austerity for workers.

The march organizers consisted of two opposition parties — The Left and the Greens — and hundreds of environmental, health, cultural and various left groups, as well as the trade union movement. The immense crowd waited patiently, then slowly moved off through one-time East Berlin thoroughfares, past the big Bundestag building and the Soviet War Memorial near the Brandenburg Gate, into a long, wide avenue cutting through one-time West Berlin’s Tiergarten park.