Campaign for Trade Justice Aims to Turn EU Trade Commissioner Green
For immediate release: Wednesday 6th April 2005
Tuesday 12th April, 2005 at 11.30 in St. Anne’s Square, Manchester: Members of the public will be invited to throw green sponges at a life-size cut out of Peter Mandelson, Europe’s Trade Commissioner, in protest over his trade agenda which places business firmly above the environment.
In a joint action, members of Manchester Friends of the Earth  and Manchester World Development Movement will be inviting the public to turn an image of Peter Mandelson green on Tuesday 12th April as part of a global week of action for trade justice.
The group is protesting at the European Trade Commissioner’s petition on trade as he enters into crucial negotiations with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and will be giving members of the public the opportunity to turn him green by throwing green sponges at a cardboard cut-out of the Trade Commissioner.
Mr Mandelson has firmly placed trade competitiveness at the head of his agenda and recently said that environmental and social considerations should only be taken into account in trade policy if they bolster competitiveness. Friends of the Earth and WDM will be asking the public to sign cards to Tony Blair calling for genuine trade justice which places equal importance on people and the environment.
The protest is part of a Global Week of Action on trade which will cumulate in an all night vigil outside Westminster organised by the Trade Justice Movement, a coalition of organisations in the UK working for fairer trade rules. Seventy countries have events organised around the world, including some Ghanaians who are campaigning against enforced liberalisation of the poultry sector in Ghana by sending a live chicken to each member of parliament.
Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner Karen Keen said:
“Trade is having a negative effect on people’s livelihoods and environment in both the UK and the rest of the world. Trade policies are being developed to suit the needs of big business and not people. We want the Government to change its thinking about free trade and wake up to the fact that it is not working for anyone other than big business. The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and the environmental impact is a major cause for concern.”
Notes to Editors
 Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).