Friday, 28 October 2016
The KIO Towers of Puerta de Europa towers in Madrid. The KIO Towers of Puerta de Europa towers in Madrid. © Drow Male via Wikipedia

Greenpeace protest reaches new heights

SIX activists from the international ecological organisation, Greenpeace, scaled the side of one of the two famous high-rise towers, Torres KIO in Madrid, to protest against negotiations currently taking place between the US and EU about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The aim of the alpine activists was to reach the top of the tower and unveil a 100-metre long banner with a message to this effect, condemning the potential transatlantic alliance.

The ascent took place at 7am on the morning of May 17, the National Police were almost immediately informed of the venture and police officers, as well as emergency service workers, were dispatched to the location. 

However, excluding one condition, the security and safety representatives decided not to intervene in the peaceful protest, and allowed the event to proceed.

It took approximately one hour for a crane to be installed on site and for a member of the emergency services to rise in the crane basket and check that the activists were complying with necessary safety regulations, and were alright to proceed with the climb.

Finally, at 9.30 am, the Greenpeace campaigners reached the summit of the tower and unveiled their banner, bearing the message “No al TTIP”. 

An official representative of Greenpeace, Miguel Angel Soto, commented on the protest to the Spanish media, and explained that society should loudly demonstrate its disagreement with this partnership, claiming that the current negotiations should be halted because they are a threat to all the victories in the sphere of environmental protection and social services that Spain has currently achieved.

Although the TTIP trade negations, which begun in February 2015, were due to be conducted in secret, some information has leaked to various media sources and caused an international public opinion frenzy. 

The trade agreement between the EU and US is designed to reduce bi-lateral regulatory barriers that control national-interest businesses in areas such as food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.

Allegedly, it has so far been discovered from media leaks that the agreement will work to the detriment of its European member states, resulting in a loss of sovereignty and the effectual surrender of control over national interests in favour of international corporations, mostly from the US. 

Spain is not the only country campaigning against the potential trade union. John Hilary, Executive Director of the campaign group War on Want, has described TTIP as “an assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations.” 

Terms such as “undemocratic” have been used in conjunction with the controversial ongoing negotiations that could see the EU adapt to US dictated policies on health, employment, business and privacy.

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