Protesters seize EU stall at AIDS summit

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Activists "seized" the European Commission's stall at the world AIDS summit in Vienna Wednesday to protest the seizure of generic drugs bound for developing countries in the EU.

"The European Union seizes our medicine, we seize the European Union," some hundred protesters chanted after they had performed a mock customs inspection and wrapped a yellow and black ribbon around the EU stall.

Over the last few years many European countries have blocked a large number of medical supplies in transit for breach of intellectual property rights, which activists argue protects pharmaceutical companies over helping AIDS suffers.

The demonstrators in Vienna threw away the paperwork available from the EU stall and replaced it with their own documents, and stuck a small sign reading "the European Commission harms your health" to one of the European flags.

"Pharma greed kills," they shouted, booing delegates from pharmaceutical companies and stopping briefly in front of Germany's stall to protest over Berlin's cut-backs in their contribution to the fight against AIDS.

"Africa is dying, Germany is making savings," they shouted.

The 18th International AIDS Conference runs until Friday.

© 2010 AFP

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