ACTA Protests Erupt Across Europe

    February 12, 2012

We reported Friday on the organization of massive anti-ACTA protests around the world. We are now able to see just how big and widespread the protests were.

Reuters is reporting that over 25,000 protesters took to the streets across various German cities to protest ACTA. They also report that 4,000 Bulgarians were outside protesting the treaty in Sofia.

There were many more protests in other cities around the world, mostly in Europe, including Warsaw, Prague, Slovakia, Bucharest, Vilnius, Paris, Brussels and Dublin.

It’s reported that the protests are especially active in Eastern Europe. Protesters are comparing the treaty to the all-encompassing surveillance employed by the former Communist regimes.

The people protesting all seem to have the same thoughts in regards to ACTA. They feel that they are being forced to give up their rights to copyright holders and big business interests.

As expected, when it comes to the Internet, most of those protesting were young people. Many of them, of course, were wearing the Guy Fawkes mask as it has become synonymous not only with Anonymous but with the global protest scene as a whole.

A spokesman for the Internet freedom group Quadrature du Net said that the anti-ACTA protests are a “demonstration without precedent” because it is taking place all over Europe “at the same time.”

The protests seem to be working as Germany has held off on signing the controversial treaty. The Czech government has also held off ratifying it as they say it “needs to be analyzed.”

Anonymous did their part by hacking the Web site of Croatian president Ivo Josipovic, who has been known to support copyright legislation. They also attacked ZAMP, a Croatian service that protects the copyrights of composers, and the Institute of Croatian Music.

Lithuania, while maybe small, showed off massive support for the protests as well. About 600 people stormed the government building in Vilnius. Lithuania Justice Minister Remigijus Simasius said that ACTA could pose a threat to Internet freedom.

“I don’t know where it (ACTA) comes from and how it originated, but I don’t like that this treaty was signed skillfully avoiding discussions in the European Union and Lithuania,” Simasius wrote.

[Lead image courtesy of luisfmgoncalves’ flickr]