Published: 08:00, 04 September 2014
Crowds of locals gathered on the high streets of Dover and Deal to raise awareness of a controversial and international trade deal.
The ‘agreement’ by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU and the US, would force NHS trusts across the country to open themselves up to competition from American private health care providers.
The day of action, which went ahead nationally, was set up by the UK’s biggest campaigning group, 38 Degrees.
According to its website, the organisation, which has more than two million members, promotes fairness and democracy.
Around 10,000 people took part nationally.
The protestors collected 178 signatures on a petition calling for the negotiators to “fix or scrap” the deal, with around 160,000 people having already signed it online.
Sally Carroll, who petitioned in Deal said: “I’m extremely concerned about the secrecy and lack of information about the TTIP which will have such a wide impact.”
Deal town and Kent County Councillor, Eileen Rowbotham, said: “I am an extremely busy person but this has moved me so much, this is such a serious threat, I believe, to our democracy that I had to find the time to come out and support the group.”
Susan Fox, who organised both campaigns in Dover and Deal, said: “Negotiations are taking place behind closed doors and this is wrong.
'Negotiations are taking place behind closed doors and this is wrong.' - Campaign organiser, Susan Fox
“The far reaching trade deal is going to have an effect on all of the citizens in the EU – the citizen’s country do not know what is happening.
“You would think in a democracy that everybody had the right to know.”
Blanche Jones, campaign director at 38 Degrees, said: “It’s no surprise that thousands of people are taking to the streets about this terrible deal.
“Our NHS is being used as a bargaining chip in a decision made behind closed doors.
“Now politicians of all parties need to explain exactly what they are doing to get it fixed or scrapped.”
MP Charlie Elphicke responded: “This is nothing to do with the NHS this is really about the Labour MPs being opposed to free trade which would mean low prices for consumers and a more competitive Britain for exports.”
Paper petitions were available in both high streets for people to sign, but people also have the opportunity to sign up to it online by visiting: 38degrees.org.uk/pages.
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