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Thousands Rally in Germany Against US-EU Trade Deal

FILE - President of France Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 leaders summit in Brisbane, Australia, Nov. 2014.

Thousands of people across Germany demonstrated Saturday against a planned free-trade deal between Europe and the United States.

The protests, billed as a "Global Day of Action," came ahead of a new round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, beginning Monday in New York.

Opposition to the agreement centers on concerns it will lower food and other safety standards.

In Germany, it also reflects rising anti-Americanism. The sentiments have been fueled in part by revelations of U.S. spying, including the wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.

President Barack Obama has said the deal will help grow the U.S. and European Union economies, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, increasing exports, and decreasing trade and investment barriers.

On Friday, he called for the negotiations to move forward.

"Now that Congress is considering important bipartisan legislation for trade promotion authority, TTIP negotiations need to make major progress this year," he said at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Top U.S. lawmakers reached a deal Thursday on legislation giving Obama "trade promotion authority" to seal the TTIP, as well as another key accord with Asian nations, with Congress able only to vote up or down on the agreements, not make changes.

Some material for this report comes from AP and Reuters.