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Brussels in protests against transatlantic free trade deals

Brussels in protests against transatlantic free trade dealsThousands of protesters marched through Brussels on Tuesday to demand the European Union abandon planned transatlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labor conditions and allow big business to challenge governments, Reuters reported.

Organizers, including unions, environmental and consumer groups and public health insurers, said between 10,000 and 15,000 people headed to the EU 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 United States are still negotiating, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) struck between the EU and Canada and awaiting ratification.

Anti-TTIP and CETA groups say the trade deals would hand more power to multinationals and degrade food, environmental and labor standards.

It is not the first much against TTIP and CETA. On Saturday tens of thousands rallied against trade deals in other European cities, mainly in Germany.

Both TTIP and CETA will be the focus of a meeting of trade ministers in Slovakia on Friday. While French and German politicians have said TTIP talks have effectively failed or should be suspended, there is broader support for CETA.
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