A RALLY is planned to be held in Fremantle on Friday to protest international trade agreements.
The ISDS Action Group Fremantle says more people need to focus their attention on the troubled Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Chinese Free Trade Agreement (CHaFTA) because both will have major impacts on everyday life.
Protestors plan to chain themselves to a chariot, symbolising the TTP, while dressed as corporate players and politicians, and drag it through the streets.
“People need to be active and stand up for their rights or their rights will be taken and they will be hard to get back,” says group spokesperson Montego Ikarus.
The TPP is particularly controversial because it has been worked out almost entirely in secret: even MPs of the 12 countries it seeks to cover can gain access to documents only after signing a four-year confidentiality clause not to tell people what they learn.
A key sticking point in the TPP is a clause that gives multinationals the right to sue governments if policies are introduced that impact profits: for example, Coca-Cola would be able to sue if state governments banned soft drinks from school canteens.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in the 1990s had a similar clause and it has seen Canada sued 20 times by US interests, being forced to pay more than $158 million in compensation. Canada paid $13m to US company Ethyl after banning its additive MMT from fuel, due to health risks. The legal settlement included Canada overturning the ban and publicy declaring MMT to be safe.
“This is just corporation power over objective facts,” Mr Ikarus told the Herald.
“Unless we control the government, the government will control us. This is meant to be the people’s government.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist but we are wearing the tin hat. It is 1984.”
The protest will start at Culley’s in the High Street Mall and march to Shangai Food Court. “It is a not deadly serious protest about a deadly serious cause,” Mr Ikarus says.
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA