Protesters in several European cities are trying to draw attention to what they say are overly restrictive provisions in the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a trade pact currently being negotiated.
Defenders of the agreement claim that it is needed to protect intellectual property rights. Others argue, however, that it will lead to online censorship and restricted access to generic medicines.
Act Up Paris President Frederic Navarro asserts:
Eighty percent of Africans who have AIDS are treated with generic medicines made in India. If this agreement [ACTA] is signed, they won’t have any access to generic medicines and will die while the pharmaceutical laboratories are making profits on our lives.
The United States and several other countries signed the agreement last October. Although the European Union approved the agreement, many European governments are now reluctant to sign it.