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Protests against TPP in five countries

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Actions are taking place across five countries today to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

‘This coordinated action is designed as a shot across the bow for negotiators as they head to the next round of TPPA negotiations in Lima, Peru starting on 15 May’, said Jane Kelsey, who is part of the international campaign.

Activists in the US have 13 events planned across the country for May 11. Australian unions and community groups are holding rallies in Sydney and Melbourne. The Council of Canadians is launching a ‘trade tour’ in at least six cities across Vancouver.

In Peru, groups campaigning on public health and access to medicines, the devastation caused by mining in the Amazon basin, and violations of indigenous rights are launching two weeks of activities to coincide with the talks in Lima.

Malaysian activists held a rally several weeks ago. Japanese opponents of the TPPA plan a big rally in Tokyo on Saturday 25th May, which is when Japan is due to become an official party to the TPPA negotiations.

New Zealanders have organised three activities.

A short, hard-hitting e-book entitled Hidden Agendas: What we need to know about the TPPA, written by Professor Jane Kelsey and published by Bridget Williams Books, was released today.

An ‘Adopt an MP’ campaign also begins on 11 May to educate Members of Parliament about what’s at stake with the TPPA. Thirty-five people from around the country have so far signed up to visit and talk to their local MPs. The campaign, organised by Itsourfuture, is initially intended to run for six weeks.

In Wellington, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is taking to the streets from 1-3 pm today and lunchtimes the following week to raise awareness of how the TPPA may adversely affect public health.

They will be distributing information sheets outside the Mercer St office of PHARMAC, the national medicines-buying agency that has saved billions of health dollars by negotiating cheaper prices for medicines.

"Public health will be a major loser under terms put forward for the latest free trade deal", says NZNO organizer Marilyn Head. "The TPPA’s main focus is not trade, but "behind the border" regulation that could seriously affect public health. The deal is being negotiated in secret, though corporate lobbyists in the US have access to the text that citizens in partner countries don't."

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