In 2012, a winning combination of lobbying and street protests killed ACTA, a secretive, Internet-punishing copyright treaty. Now, protesters are being water cannoned in Brussels as they fight ACTA's successor, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It seems like the lesson that the powerful took away from ACTA wasn't to conduct trade negotiations with transparency and public feedback — instead, they're ruthlessly crushing all protest in the hopes of keeping it from growing.
— Thomas Occupy (@ThomasOccupy) May 15, 2014
This Thursday morning over a thousand people were in the streets of Brussels, attempting to peacefully protest against austerity and the proposed great transatlantic market (TTIP) which were being discussed in the absence of citizens at the European Business Summit.
In an unprovoked move 281 people were violently arrested, including Belgian and European parliamentarians and candidates, senior trade union officials, farmers and many elderly citizens.
As one of those involved noted:
"We came into the streets because our political leaders are not listening. It seems they've only got ears for big business and their representatives who co-organised the European Business Summit. And to be treated so brutally, as if we were violent criminals — when our actions were entirely peaceful."