MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti), Nastassia Astrasheuskaya – The European Days of Action, a Europe-wide 10-day peaceful protest movement against the current austerity regime and free trade policies in the region, is the only real way to be heard by political leaders, a Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) campaigner told RIA Novosti.
"The focus on non-violent direct action through civil disobedience allows us to push at the boundaries of the current system and highlight the authoritarian nature of the current regime," Pascoe Sabido of CEO said, referring to the nearly 300 arbitrary arrests in Brussels on the first day of protest on Thursday. The CEO's office manager was among the detained while demonstrating at an energy summit.
Despite the arrests, the demonstrators refrain from violence.
"We will not resort to violence as we can never win," he said.
CEO, as well as at least 16 European left or radical left movements, organizations, groups and parties from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Greece participated in the Brussels actions, criticizing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which promotes a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.
"We want to highlight that the current austerity regime is harming Europe's citizens and its environment, from workers’ rights to health and safety standards to privatizing public services and putting them out of the reach of ordinary people. This is only going to get worse if the EU-US Transatlantic free trade agreement is signed," Sabido said.
May of Solidarity marks the third anniversary of the 15M movement in Spain, when up to 8 million people across the country took to the streets. The event is taking place the week before the European Parliament elections on May 22-25, in which voters will elect 751 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to serve five-year terms. Started from below, from European cities large and small, the protests have moved up to power hubs and grown in scope. Some members hope the Days of Action will be adopted by other countries, where people are demanding change.
"It doesn't have to be limited to Europe at all. There's a current focus on Europe and the European institutions as that is where power is being centralized, as well it being a continent that is going through a big change at the moment, but it can be anywhere. Global solidarity is nothing new, nor is coordinating events internationally," Sabido said adding there was no reason Russia and Ukraine should not be part of it, should their local capacity be strong enough.
"As the Month is decentralized, it depends on local capacity – all the events have happened because groups on the ground have made them happen. It would be great to see groups in Russia and Ukraine take part. Already there is a Polish group involved this year," he said
The May activities will not stop after the elections. They serve as a precursor to larger protests this fall, when the EU will be electing the next president of the European Commission to succeed José Manuel Barroso.