Tens of thousands of protesters took part in rallies across Europe on Saturday against an international anti-piracy agreement they fear will curb their freedom to download movies and music and encourage Internet surveillance.
More than 25,000 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures in German cities to march against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) while 4000 Bulgarians in Sofia rallied against the agreement designed to strengthen the legal framework for intellectual property rights.
There were thousands more – mostly young – demonstrators at other high-spirited rallies despite snow and freezing temperatures in cities including Warsaw, Prague, Slovakia, Bucharest, Vilnius, Paris, Brussels and Dublin. About 300 people protest next to the Presidential Palace, despite freezing temperatures against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), on a global day of coordinated protest in over 300 cities.
In Poland, the government has decided to postpone the ratification of the controversial anti-copyright agreement that has provoked widespread anger and protest, saying it needed further “consultation”.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that country needed more time to see if the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA as it is better known, was compatible with Polish law.
Speaking at a press conference, the PM added that government consultations over the agreement “had been incomplete” and that he was “mad with his co-workers” because of this.
Opponents of the ACTA, which aims to crack down at online piracy, argue that it will infringe upon the freedom of information and free speech. Venting their spleen, anti-ACTA demonstrations have occurred across the country since the government inked the agreement last month, and hackers even managed to take down the prime minister’s website, among others, in a demonstration of cyber-opposition.
But despite the decision to postpone parliamentary ratification, Mr Tusk said his government would not withdraw from the agreement, and that any government that changed its mind owing to public protest “should resign”.
The government also published a list of “commitments” that it requires to be met before the ratification process can go ahead. Top of this list is the commitment to publish all documents related to the ACTA that the state has, and all the material it can get out of the EU. This, the government hopes, should allow the greater scrutiny the agreement apparently deserves, and help calm fears that it has no secret or unknown aspects which would undermine internet freedoms.
What is your opinion about it?
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)