The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), designed by the United States and Japan and intended to unify copyright law internationally has provoked huge opposition across Europe as those opposed say it will limit freedom on the internet.
And although the German government delayed signing the agreement on Friday, that did not stop more than 18,000 people taking to the streets in Munich and around 10,000 in Berlin, with other smaller demonstrations held in more than 60 towns and cities across the country.
Matthias Spielkamp from the organisation iRights, which was involved in the demonstrations told the Frankfurter Runschau daily paper that the German government’s delay was just a tactic to try to avoid anger at ACTA.
“They want to wait for the decision of the European Parliament, in order not to burn their fingers for nothing,” he said.
Peter Altmeier, manager of Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union parliamentary party said on Monday he was sympathetic to the protesters. They had made clear that topics concerning the internet were, “discussed at very different speeds today,” and that politicians would do well to take them seriously.
“That is not to say that we will do without our own independent political assessment,” he added while speaking on the ARD television show Morgenmagazin.
Organisers said they were pleasantly surprised by the numbers of protesters, who also came out against the agreement in London, Dublin and Warsaw, the paper reported on Monday.