Growing opposition in Germany to the proposed TTIP trade deal has caught the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel by surprise. Mana Rabiee reports.
They were nearly a quarter of a million people, say organizers... environmental groups, charities, opposition parties ... All of them angry over a planned trade deal between the European Union and United States. Critics call the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- or TTIP -- antidemocratic... They're worried it hands too much power to big multinationals at the expense of consumers and workers. (SOUNDBITE) (German) DEMONSTRATOR, OLIVER ZLOTY, SAYING: "What bothers me the most is that I don't want all our consumer laws to be softened. It is a very important point and I don't want to be dictated to by any companies." Businesses hope the deal will deliver over $100 billion of economic gains on both sides of the Atlantic. But opponents are also concerned the talks are taking place behind closed doors... Dietmar Bartsch is a deputy with the opposition Left Party: (SOUNDBITE) (German) DEPUTY LEADER OF THE LEFT PARTY'S PARLIAMENTARY GROUP, DIETMAR BARTSCH, SAYING: "I think that if you make such agreements then it at least needs to be made transparent. We definitely need to know what is supposedly being decided." Resistance to the TTIP has risen sharply in Germany over the last year. It's caught the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel by surprise... ... as it tries to push a deal that would create a market of 800 million people and serve as a counterweight to China's economic clout.