Europe

Thousands protest planned trade link-ups with US, Canada

  • Greenpeace activists spray paint an anti-TTIP slogan on a street during a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Greenpeace activists spray paint an anti-TTIP slogan on a street during a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Greenpeace activist attaches an anti-TTIP banner to a lamp post on a street during a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    A Greenpeace activist attaches an anti-TTIP banner to a lamp post on a street during a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A couple in costume hold a banner which reads 'The Rebellious French' as they wait for the start of a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    A couple in costume hold a banner which reads 'The Rebellious French' as they wait for the start of a demonstration against international trade agreements in Brussels on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A demonstration was held in the European Quarter on Tuesday to protest against trade and investment deals such as TTIP and CETA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of demonstrators have marched at the European Union headquarters to protest trans-Atlantic trade talks with the United States and a planned deal with Canada, claiming they would hurt labor and consumer rights while undermining environmental protection.

Representatives of unions, social organizations, human rights and farming groups snarled evening rush-hour traffic in the heart of the Belgian capital hoping the talks with Washington on the so-called TTIP trade deal fail to get enough European backing.

They also hope there will be enough of a groundswell of opposition to make sure that the CETA deal with Canada doesn't get the necessary parliamentary approvals in EU member states.

Backers of both deals say that they will be essential in boosting trade and jobs in the future.