Protests over trade deal take to streets

Stuart Smith and Norma Stout, from an online campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees, give out leaflets and information about the proposed TTIP trade deal

Stuart Smith and Norma Stout, from an online campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees, give out leaflets and information about the proposed TTIP trade deal

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PROTESTORS took to Wigan’s streets to raise awareness of a controversial trade deal being negotiated between Europe and the USA.

Around a dozen folk from online campaigning site 38 Degrees spent several hours in the town centre handing out leaflets to let people know about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The group stood outside prominent buildings including the town hall and The Galleries campaigning against the deal, which they say will water down people’s rights and threaten democracy.

TTIP aims to remove barriers to trade between Europe and the USA to boost businesses and the economy, but protestors fear this will lead to the shredding of standards on product quality and environmental protection, while alarm has also been raised about a mechanism allowing corporations to sue governments if they pass laws which restrict their ability to make profit.

The Wigan campaign coincided with a weekend of action all across Europe, with 38 Degrees campaigners taking the TTIP message on to British streets and demonstrations being held in major cities all over the continent.

Billinge campaigner Joe Taylor said: “This is a dangerous threat to what we know as democracy.

“It will mean the end of our NHS as nothing will be allowed which stands in the way of profit. It could also allow companies and corporations to sue the government on issues such as not allowing fracking in our country or raising corporation tax. You might as well not have an elected government as it can simply be over-ruled.

“We had a few conversations with inquisitive people in Wigan and it’s the NHS situation that most provokes interest here. People need to educate themselves about it because the implications are tremendous.”