Berlin: 50,000 at the demo “We’ve had enough!”
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
"We have enough" ralley in Berlin. Photo Karin Heinze
For the fifth time, the broad alliance of organic consumers and environmental organizations appealed to the public to take part in the demo “We’ve had enough” in Berlin. On 17 January 2015, around 50,000 people of all ages and from all parts of Germany marched from the Potsdamer Platz to the government district.The motley crowds were colourful, inventive and imaginative in their protest against the agro-industry, factory farming, the decimation of bees, industrially produced food, unfair working conditions, dumping prices and the trade agreements Ceta and TTIP. On the evening before the demo, we were first invited by BÖLW (representing organic producers, processors and retailers) to attend a big political reception at the Berlin Green Week.
Picture Karin Heinze : It was about issues affecting our future. Tomorrow I´ll become organic farmer" is written on the poster. At the “We’ve had enough” demo, many young people made their demands and aspirations abundantly clear. View also the video.
50,000! Far more than anyone expected. As one of the marchers said: “There was an invitation to the demo on practically every lamp post in Berlin.” Many organisations like AbL, Attac, organic farmer associations, the environmental organisation BUND, the aid agency Brot für die Welt, the Green Party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and other political parties, Campact, Greenpeace, Nabu, Slow Food, gastronomy and manufacturers’ associations, beekeepers and many, many more had mobilised their members and anyone interested across the length and breadth of Germany. Georg Janßen, the managing director of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft
AbL (representing mainly small and medium size farms) said at the launch event at Potsdamer Platz just how impressed he was by such a vast number of people making their way from all over Germany to this fifth “We’ve had enough” demo in Berlin.
(Pictures: BÖLW spokesperson Joyce Möwius welcoming the demonstrators and asking for donations to support the tractor drivers and the organization of the demo.
The daughter of a professional beekeeper brandishing a flag protesting against Monsanto)
Some of the 90 tractors had come hundreds of kilometres to be in the capital. Bioland-farmer Otto Schöneweis also attracted a great deal of attention: wearing clogs and dragging a converted calf pen on wheels behind him, he had walked nearly 500 kilometres from the dairy Upländer Bauernmolkerei in Hesse. As on all occasions in the past, the demo was a rich mixture and a cross-section of all generations, and it passed off in perfect peace and harmony.
Pictures Karin Heinze : 90 tractors came from all corners of Germany for the tractor procession
It was probably the new issues - TTIP (we reported on this earlier) and Ceta - that mobilised far more people than the organisers had expected, including from outside Germany. “Last year, most people exchanged puzzled glances when TTIP was mentioned, but this year everyone is talking about it and across the whole of Europe there’s now widespread opposition to this free trade agreement,” said Janßen. In just a short period of time, over a million people signed a petition opposing the implementation of TTIP (again, we’ve already reported on this campaign). (Picture: The TTIP and Ceta trade agreements were a major issue)
Newcomers in the broad “We’ve had enough” alliance included the Gewerkschaft Nahrung-Genuss-Gaststätten NGG – the trade union representing the food, beverages and catering industry - the Confederation of Bakers and Confectioners - and the organisation representing artisan meat processors. They demanded the abolition of industrial mass production and processing and an end to dumping prices for producers and manufacturers. They maintained that healthy soil and seed variety were the basis of good food
and had to be promoted. They emphasized that farmers all over the world were dependent on fair payment for their products. Some very specific demands were directed at local and national politicians. An example was the massive protest movement against industrial-scale animal keeping facilities in Haßleben appealing to the prime minister and minister for agriculture in the state of Brandenburg. (Pictures: Christoph Bautz, co-founder and managing director of Campact formulated the demands of the demo. Crowds at Potsdamer Platz.)
(Pictures Karin Heinze: On all sides, consumers using their imagination on the protest march in Berlin)
The fifth “We’ve had enough” demo has taken a stand, and politicians can no longer ignore its message of opposition to current agricultural policy and absolute rejection of the bilateral trade agreements. As we can see from the homepage of the demo network, what also must not be overlooked is the fact that the alliance has already achieved a great deal: everyone is talking about TTIP, and 97% of Europeans object to big corporations acquiring more power. Another achievement is the fact that citizens’ action groups, with the help of the new building law, have prevented the construction of over 100 mega animal sheds and that committed opposition has prevented genetic engineering getting a foothold in Europe. However, the urgently needed transformation of agriculture to create a future for farming in the hands of the farmers themselves and the political decisions to implement this revolution are demands that that we still need to see turned into practice.
(Picture: Campact’s huge poster on the way from the Chancellor’s office to the main railway station in Berlin)
(Pictures Karin Heinze: "These are all important issues that affect us as consumers" was the gist of what you heard the marchers saying again and again)
Login for subscribers