Germans rally against planned EU trade deals with US, Canada

BERLIN: Thousands of people are rallying in cities across Germany to protest against planned European Union trade deals with the United States and Canada.

Opponents say the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the US and the EU would undermine European environmental standards and consumer rights.

Protesters gathered in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig and Frankfurt on Saturday may have felt emboldened by Germany's economy minister, who declared last month that the TTIP talks had "de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it." His assertion was swiftly rejected by officials in Washington and Brussels.

Negotiations for a similar deal with Canada have progressed further, although France, Germany and Austria have voiced lingering concerns.

Backers say such trade deals would boost the global economy.