TTIP’s corporate beneficiaries, BP, KFC & Virgin, targeted in London protests

TTIP’s corporate beneficiaries, BP, KFC & Virgin, targeted in London protests

Date: 18 April 2015

Over two hundred people, including Vivienne Westwood, took part in protests against the controversial EU-USA free trade deal TTIP in central London today.

On Shepherds Bush common, protesters heard short speeches from speakers including Vivienne Westwood and Jean Lambert MEP, before going on to stage creative interventions at nearby KFC, a BP petrol station, and a Virgin shop in the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre.

The protest was one of over 600 protests that were taking place across the world as part of Global Trade Day, targeting a rash of controversial free trade agreements that are being pushed across the world that would massively increase corporate power at the expense of democratic process. In the UK protests or events also took place in Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

At KFC a line of protesters took turns to wash rubber chickens in buckets of a liquid representing chlorine. Chicken processers are lobbying for TTIP for the right to sell chlorine washed chickens in the EU, as is currently allowed in the USA.

At the BP petrol station, protestors staged a symbolic die-in across the forecourt. Critics have argued that TTIP will massively ramp up fossil fuel imports from the USA and result in billions being spent on new fossil fuel infrastructure, with disastrous consequences for the climate.

At the Virgin store in the Westfield Shopping Centre, an auctioneer sold off various parts of the NHS beside a protester in a Richard Branson mask. The protesters were highlighting that Virgin would stand to massively benefit from the privatisation of healthcare services through Branson’s Virgin Care company.

Guy Taylor, the trade campaigner for Global Justice Now said:

“Election time is a reminder for what a huge threat TTIP would be to our parliamentary democracy. Politicians promise so much to ordinary people in the UK, but what they would be able to do would be dramatically limited if TTIP was implemented and corporate interests are brought to bear on so many decisions of government. We need to ensure that our democratically elected officials are free to act in the interests of the people they serve, rather than in the interests of corporate profits.”

Vivienne Westwood, the iconic fashion designer who spoke at the protest said,

“The politicians who refuse to stand up to TTIP are criminals. Everyone has a duty to inform themselves and others what the terrible consequences of this trade deal would be.”

The protest was organised by Global Justice Now, War on Want, Keep Our NHS Public, Brick Lane Debates and Students Against TTIP, and supported by No TTIP.

Photo top: Vivienne Westwood addresses the crowd. Credit: Sleeves Rolled Up, Flickr