There was plenty of food, along with depictions of countryside, trees and water on the banners and homemade signs carried by demonstrators against the TTIP — the transatlantic treaty under discussion in secret rooms between the U.S. and E.U. — who marched Sunday through the streets of Rome. They were showing their contempt for provisions of a deal that would put the environment and food regulations increasingly at the discretion of multinational corporations.
According to the organizers, 50,000 people were present. A better estimate might have been 30,000. But even if there were half as many, it would be an unprecedented showing for such a complicated topic, with an almost unpronounceable English name — Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — and very little, or almost no information in the mainstream media.
The “Stop TTIP” crowd who gathered for this inaugural event in Italy was more mixed than usual. Farmers with reeds instead of poles for their flags, activists of local associations, service workers, people from as far away as Venice and many, many young people. They were accompanied by the annual Million Marijuana parade (favoring, of course, the liberalization of cannabis). After police disbanded them from Piazza della Repubblica, they largely merged into the procession behind a truck of young communists blasting reggae music.