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Mass-arrests during peaceful protests against the European Business Summit

19 May 2014

On the 15th of May, during a protest against the European Business Summit, 285 peaceful protesters, amongst which colleagues from M3M, were arrested and held in jail for 8 hours.

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming


Repression against protesters

Some 1000 trade unionists, students, citizens, farmers, EU election candidates and NGO's faced an intimidating police force during a peaceful demonstration against the European Business Summit, where also the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ('TTIP' or 'TAFTA') was being discussed.


Yet the demonstrators had full right to express their discontent over the undemocratic negotiations of the TTIP. The content of the negotiations are public secret, but BusinessEurope gets access and is allowed to participate in the negotiations.


What is the aim of the TTIP?


The EU and US make up 40% of global economic output. This EU-US Free Trade Agreement would form a block against the emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa).Recently an official of the European Commission stated during a seminar that through the TTIP we must harmonize  standards between the EU and the US, even if the standards will be a little bit lower than we would like. Because if we don't, he said, we will never be able to impose our rules onto the rest of the world.


It is the majority of the population who will have to pay the bill. The TTIP includes undemocratic legal clauses with which investors can take countries to court whenever they introduce social or environmental regulations that could limit their anticipated profits.


Existing trade and investment agreements extensively demonstrated negative impacts on quality of work, health and the environment. The majority of the people has never benefited from such trade and investment agreements. On the contrary, these agreements serve the 1% super rich at the expense of the 99%, including all of us.


A way forward?


The belief in democracy was significantly knocked amongst the participants of the protest. People from all ages, students and syndicalists, jounalists, NGO's and election candidates were confronted with an exagerated police force, including the water cannon, pepper spray and mass arrests. To everyone's surprise, it became clear that, not civilians, but multinationals enjoy  protection by the police.


Despite this, the spirit amongst the protesters was high. Colleagues from M3M was imprisoned with 25 other innocent women, old and young, amongst which trade unionists as well as students in their exam period, a journalist and a mom who's elder son was in prison with the male protestors. As a result of the arrests, she was unable to pick up her youngest child from school, nor call anybody for help as all the phones were confiscated.


On the prison wall a saying from Pable Nerudo was written: " You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming." Everybody agreed wholeheartedly. Following this intimidating police intervention, everybody was encouraged not to stop here. We see you at the next peaceful protest for a Europe for the people, not for big business.

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