The file photo shows people protesting against free trade deals between the European Union and the United States and Canada in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by AFP)
Hundreds of people have demonstrated in the Polish capital Warsaw against potential free trade deals between the European Union and the United States as well as Canada.
People from trade unions and several small opposition parties both from right and left took part in the march on Saturday, which was organized by Akcja Democracja, a non-governmental organization.
The demonstrators said the agreements could seriously affect Poland’s farming and consumer sectors.
The protesters marched on the prime minister's office beginning from the building of the agriculture ministry.
They urged the government to reject the potential deals, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which involves the EU and the US, and a smaller version called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is in the works between the EU and Canada.
The demonstrators argued that such deals may lead consumers to use imported products from North America that could be contaminated.
The deals would allow the influx of foods into Poland that are genetically modified and contaminated with harmful chemicals, the protesters say.
The deals have prompted similar concerns throughout Europe, with activists and trade unions arguing that ongoing talks on the deals should stop as their potential signing would worsen local standards for food, work, industry and environment. Countries such as Germany and eastern European states that have a sizable population of farmers have seen major demonstrations against the deals.
Governments have also voiced dismay at the prospect of the deals, although Germany says it will go on with the planned negotiations.
Trade ministers from the EU will hold a meeting next week to decide on CETA. If the deal is unanimously approved, it could be signed on October 27. Activists say the approval of CETA, would be a prelude to TTIP.
Washington had hoped it could finalize TTIP before President Barack Obama leaves office in January, but opposition across Europe has made the target almost impossible to reach.

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