Riot police cracked down on a diverse group of protesters against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in downtown Lima on Wednesday, with university student collectives, labor unions, health-based groups, leftist political parties, Indigenous communities, cultural movements, neighborhood associations, feminists and environmentalists all taking part.
The march, which was the latest in over a dozen major protests in the Peruvian capital over the past year, faced tear gas and heckling from police as they denounced the neoliberal policies that will see the vulnerable populations suffer the most.
There are a number of issues being raised by citizens protesting the TPP including opposition to monopoly rights on medicines: opposition to the protection of genetically-modified foods, opposition to the degradation of environmental standards and opposition to potential mechanisms that would force the state to relinquish its sovereignty to international courts for commercial disputes.
On Tuesday the Congressional Commission on Foreign Commerce refused to debate the treaty despite a petition by left-wing congresswoman Marisa Glave.
Those who voted against debating the TPP were all from the Popular Force, the right-wing Fujimorista party that controls over half of Congress and openly supports its implementation. "There is a fear of exposing the contents of the treaty," said Glave.
But the Fujimoristas are not the only ones supporting the treaty. The ruling Peruvians for Change and its leader, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, have also openly backed the TPP.
Despite initial remarks by the Kuczynski criticizing the TPP for not including China, Minister of Economics Alfredo Thorne told the World Bank last week “we're very committed" to the controversial trade deal.
Kuczynski has also expressed the hope that current opposition to the TPP from both U.S. presidential candidates is nothing but an electoral strategy.
By the end of the night, teleSUR correspondent Rael Mora reported police violence against protestors.