By Philipp Schäfer

At first, I want to summarize this article from the German Naturefriends and afterwards I’ll continue with a short description of my impressions from the demonstration in Stuttgart which I took part in.

On the 17th of September, 320.000 people joined the demonstrations against the infamous free trade agreements CETA and TTIP in seven big cities of Germany.

70.000 people in Berlin, 50.000 in Frankfurt, 40.000 in Stuttgart and many more in other big cities surprised even the network of NGOs who organized the demonstrations. This network is a colorful mixture of NGOs from the environmental sector to trade unions, to green and social democratic parties. You maybe know Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), German Naturefriends, German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Oxfam, Greenpeace and WWF.

“Both free trade agreements support a parallel justice, are a danger for democracy, social and environmental standards and services for the public, that’s why they must be stopped. CETA the agreement planned with Canada meant TTIP through the backdoor” – it was declared by the demonstration network.


Demonstrators in Stuttgart


Now to my personal story from Stuttgart. In the morning I had to struggle with delayed and canceled trams on my way to the main station in Karlsruhe. I saw the group of people at the north entrance meeting there to take the same train to Stuttgart, however I ordered a ticket for the organized demonstration bus so I just quickly said hello to some familiar faces while passing by them. I had to hurry to be at the meeting point 15 minutes before the bus departure. I arrived on time but there were no passengers and 15 minutes later no signs of the bus! Another person and I tried to call the manager and other employees of the bus company. Afterwards, I was informed via email that they have moved the meeting to a place other than the one given on the map. We decided to take the next possible train instead and luckily only missed the starting speech.

The various self-made protest signs which have been upheld were diverse. I’m going to list some of them in a reasonable translation: “We do not subordinate us under the dictatorship of big concerns.”, “All power emerges from the people not from the international enterprises!” Some messages also personally addressed leaders of the green and social democratic parties: “Sigi (Sigmar Gabriel) get retired” but also the associated party bases: “Gabriel & Kretschmann can still stop CETA! Where is the base of the SPD and Greens?”



People and a loudspeaker car in the youth sector of the demonstration. Me and two other young Naturefriends on the right side of the foreground (holding the flags and standing behind the red flag. Two members of Young Friends of the Earth in the yellow chicken costumes on the left side.


After I was reunited with my friends I took a deep breath. In the meantime I had seen the demo trucks and the tractors of some farmers, who put signs with slogans like “farms not agricultural factories” on them, but the highlight was a wooden Trojan horse on a trailer.

“Protect Humans and Environment – Stop CETA and TTIP!”, “TTIP? CETA? Referendum!” was written on the big official banners. Some people were costumed as chickens and one woman was dressed as judge, with money hanging out of the pockets of her robe and a sign “I’m totally neutral arbitration tribunal.”

But there have also been funny signs. One of them was texted with “Traumatized Tomatoes In Pitch” and a smiling and aggressive tomato where drawn on it. Or another called the execution showing consumer protection, social standards and ecology being hung at the letters TTIP. I saw some transparent document envelopes on a wooden handle with words like “This is true transparency.” written on them.

We enjoyed the good atmosphere in the youth sector of the demonstration march. The music from the loudspeaker wagon was only stopped for a short speech and shouts in question and answer style like: “CETA? Shit! TTIP! Shit! Enraged citizens? Shit! Neo-Nazis? Shit!”

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On the left: Board members of NFJD: Fenja, Sascha and Jannis in Frankfurt. On the right: A group of Young Naturefriends demonstrate in Berlin.


The weather was much better than the forecast suggested and the sun was kind to us. After the demonstration we went to the office of Friends of the Earth in Stuttgart to get a free freshly cooked soup. We talked a lot and I recognized someone from the last anti free trade agreement demonstration in Berlin. But we had to leave soon to be back in Karlsruhe on time for a meeting of our regional Young Naturefriends organization in the evening. This time I decided to take a train and gave my bus ticket to someone else having no idea yet how to go back home.

The next day I saw pictures and videos from the other demonstrations and saw some familiar faces.

Further information about the two free trade agreements can be found in seven languages at