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PROTESTERS dressed as US President Donald Trump, a cow and chickens gathered outside Parliament on Saturday to oppose a proposed trade deal that campaigners fear will lower food standards.
About 50 people assembled near the Palace of Westminster to demonstrate against the trade negotiations, which are now in their fifth round, between Boris Johnson’s government and the Trump administration.
Campaigners warn that the two governments are “rushing” to secure an agreement before the US presidential election on November 4.
Organised by a coalition of groups including Global Justice Now, War on Want and Keep Our NHS Public, Saturday’s protest featured an activist in a Trump costume trying to inject a pantomime cow with growth hormones and dancing chickens “demanding not to be chlorinated.”
A banner reading “Dump Trump’s trade deal” was also dropped from Westminster Bridge.
The theatrical protest highlighted long-held fears that the eventual deal could lower Britain’s food standards, leading to chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef appearing on supermarket shelves for the first time.
Campaigners also warn that the US is seeking to open up the NHS to privatisation, weaken Britain’s environmental laws and erode workers’ rights.
Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said: “Boris Johnson and the Trump administration are rushing to negotiate a trade deal, and unless we kick up a fuss, it will be a disaster for our rights, services, standards and the environment.
“We are talking about a race to the bottom — an unprecedented attempt to deregulate the UK in line with the American economic model.”
The Department for International Trade has insisted that the NHS is not on the table in the talks.
In a statement posted on social media, the department said: “Decisions about the NHS and all public services are made by the UK government. And will continue to be made by the UK government. Not by our trade partners. Never have been, never will be.”
However, campaigners remain unconvinced.
A cache of leaked documents revealed last year that US negotiators had pushed for “full market access” to Britain’s public services, including the NHS.
Saturday’s protest formed part of a national day of action against the trade talks that also included events in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading and York.
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