AIDS Activists Protest Free Trade Agreement in Washington, D.C., Gear Up for Quebec City Meeting
In the first of a series of planned protests against current trade policies, AIDS activists yesterday gathered in Washington, D.C., to "demand" trade policies that would increase developing nations' access to antiretroviral drugs, the Washington Times reports (Drake, Washington Times, 4/13). Among the protesters were members from ACT UP/Philadelphia, the Health Global Access Project Coalition, Friends of the Earth and the AFL-CIO (Pallarito, Reuters Health, 4/12). The activists marched to the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick to protest proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas intellectual property rules, stating that the regulations "give corporations the right to sue" developing nations for using generic drugs. Chanting "Medication for every nation" and "They say FTAA, we say no way," the approximately 300 protesters carried signs, noisemakers, bullhorns and a "six-person puppet with Mr. Zoellick's name on it." More protests are planned in Quebec and at the U.S.-Canadian border in anticipation of the FTAA meeting, scheduled for April 20-22 in Quebec City (Washington Times, 4/13). Kris Torgeson, a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders, said, "Quebec City is gearing up -- in the wake of Seattle -- for big protests." She added that advocates are currently organizing a "people's summit" for the public that will be held alongside the FTAA summit (Reuters Health, 4/12). Activists are also planning protests for the spring meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund at the end of this month (Washington Times, 4/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.