Airborne ‘anti-TPP’ protest blimp floats above congressional office

© Evan Greer
Activists floated a 25-foot blimp over the congressional offices of Scott Peters in San Diego to protest against the global Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, perhaps in the process illustrating that it is full of hot air in terms of civil liberties. Peters voted to fast track the deal.

A handful of protesters gathered outside the House of Representatives offices on Monday in San Diego. A rope tethered the massive white blimp, marked with two black arrows pointing left and right, with the word ‘Democracy’ pointing right and the acronym ‘TPP’ pointing left.

Others held up white signs with black lettering, ‘TPP’ circled and crossed out in red ink, or emphatically ‘No TPP.’

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), supported and shepherded by the Obama administration, is a trade pact that has been negotiated in secret establishing regulations between 12 countries in the Pacific Basin. Its opponents say these regulations would undermine jobs in the US and work to the benefit of corporations rather than nations their workers.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was a strong opponent of TPP, while Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton initially supported the pact, before distancing herself from it as Sanders’ popularity grew.

Despite Congressman Peters voting to fast track the global trade bill protesters are pressuring him to oppose the deal arguing it is anti-democratic and unpopular among Americans.

“At this point it’s clear: people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose the TPP, and most members of Congress are recognizing that,” said Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, a coalition of nearly two dozen tech companies and civil liberties groups fighting for digital rights, copyright legislation and online privacy. “We wanted to bring out message to Scott Peters in a way that he can’t ignore, so what better way than flying a 25 foot blimp.”

At the Democratic National Convention last week protesters held up signs against TPP, and one protester yelled “No more TPP!” while President Obama spoke out about “there are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures.”

The final DNC platform does not include opposition to TPP – a fact which has caused a number of Democratic voters to stage protests.

Peters himself is facing a tough fight in his re-election campaign and has isolated union backers with his support of fast tracking TPP.