On 12th July, the Saturday shoppers on Manchester’s Market Street found themselves negotiating crowded, colourful impromptu arena. They were waylaid by stilt walkers, puppeteers, placards, stalls, postcard signing posts, a working ‘scales of justice’ and a sound system transmitting live music and talks on the multiple threats posed by TTIP. Speakers from local organisations covered different dimensions of the treaty, from the consequences for the NHS to its likely impact on workers’ rights, environmental controls and national sovereignty. Activist-entertainer Gayzer Frackman personified TTIP as he performed an auction of rights, and Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge exposed the unsound economic models of the pro-TTIP lobby. Later, musician Daz Nez rallied the crowd with defiant protest songs.
2,500 leaflets and hundreds of copies of WDM’s noTTIP Times were distributed to passers-by, who also got to witness an anti-TTIP conga weaving its way around Market Street. A young student closed the event, taking to the stage to explain how an hour ago he had never heard of TTIP, and was leaving feeling informed, angered and empowered to spread the word about what he had decided to re-label “Total Tyranny – International Poverty”.
Other passers-by also asked how they could get involved, so Stop TTIP Mcr looks forward to swelled ranks and renewed energy as we continue to help see off TTIP, just as civil society came together and put paid to the Multilateral Agreement on Investment 15 years ago.
We will be meeting on the first Weds of every month in Manchester city centre so get in touch and come and join us!