Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hanover Saturday to demonstrate against a transatlantic trade agreement between Germany and the United States.
The rally took place a day before a visit by US
President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the city for the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe 2016.
Obama and Merkel are expected to discuss the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) during the visit to the trade show in Hanover on Sunday and Monday.
Both leaders announced on Saturday that they support free trade agreements between the US and Europe as it would fuel growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is one of the best ways to promote growth and create jobs,” Obama told the mass-selling newspaper Bild in an interview.
Merkel said in her weekly podcast that wrapping up a deal would be a “win-win situation,” adding that “it is good for us as we will be able to appraise our competitors.”
The proposed agreement covers three broad areas including, market access, modes of co-operation and regulations and is expected to be finalized by 2019 or 2020.
This image shows an opponent of a proposed transatlantic trade deal, also known as the TTIP, standing in front of a wooden Trojan Horse in Hanover, Germany, April 23, 2016. (AFP Photo)
Unions, charities, NGOs, environmentalists and other critics of the deal have voiced opposition to the controversial agreement warning it could undermine consumer rights and environmental protection.
A similar deal named the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is being negotiated between the EU and Canada.