Thousands March in Brussels to Protest NATO and Trump

May 29th, 2017 - by admin

Popular Resistance & Marthe van der Wolf / Voice of America – 2017-05-29 12:05:58

Block NATO 2017: 140 Arrests

Anti-war Protesters
Block NATO 2017: 140 Arrests

Popular Resistance

BRUSSELS (May 28, 2017) — One hundred and fifty nonviolent activists, amongst whom are activists from Agir pour la Paix, are currently disturbing the access to the NATO Summit through direct nonviolent actions. The summit is taking place in Brussels’ brand new headquarters. Their aim is to make themselves visible to the delegations on their way to the summit.

Through their radical, direct and nonviolent actions, they want to get across with conviction that NATO is actually a war machine, and that far from ensuring peace and security in the world, it only reinforces its instability through the threat of the use of nuclear arms.

With the NUKE-Free Zone campaign, Agir pour la Paix will keep taking action to demand that NATO members start the negotiations for the future Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and ultimately, sign it. It’s time for Belgium to follow the will of the majority of nations, rather than continuing to bend to the diktat of NATO.

The American nuclear arms that have been stationed in Belgium (Kleine Brogel, Limburg) for over 60 years within the NATO framework, as well as those from other european “host” countries (Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey), have to leave the European ground on which they should never have been allowed to be here in the first place.

Nowadays, nuclear arms represent the biggest threat to the planet and the last weapon of mass destruction that is not covered by a prohibition treaty. The consequences of their voluntary or accidental use, are such, that no country nor organisation in the world could ever deal with it.

“Belgium, just like other countries holding these arms, has to put an end to this russian roulette being played with humanity, and to put into practice it’s nice speeches in which it calls for a world without nuclear arms . . .” says Stephanie, member of Agir pour la Paix.

More urgently than ever, it’s time to invest in solutions, rather than in NATO problems. NATO needs to be dissolved.

Peace Activists Focus on Reducing
Military Spending at Counter-NATO Summit

Marthe van der Wolf / Voice of America

BRUSSELS (May 25, 2017) — While NATO heads of states are meeting in their newest headquarters to discuss increasing defense budget spending, leading peace activists from around the world are gathered for a counter-summit to advocate for less militarization.

Military spending will be one of the issues topping the NATO summit agenda Thursday in Brussels. Increasing defense spending to 2 percent of GDP is a requirement for member countries, but only five of the 28 abide by this rule.

President Donald Trump has been vocal since his campaign that other member states need to meet the budget obligation.

Elsewhere in Brussels, more than 100 international peace activists are holding their own summit, focusing not only on less military spending, but on completely phasing out NATO over a number of years.

Ingeborg Breines of International Peace Bureau says the arguments against NATO are economic, social and environmental.

“We think that the costs are so high for the military that we don’t have the means to cater to the means of people. The effects of societies of war are that they migrate by need. And ecologically, we misuse national resources such as minerals and energy and dig oils to keep the military machine going.”

The US president had called NATO “obsolete” during his campaign, but said in April that NATO has been the “bulwark of international peace and security.”

Left-wing French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who wanted France to leave NATO, received close to 20 percent of the vote during the first round of presidential elections there a month ago; a study by the US-based Pew Research Center, however, shows citizens of most NATO countries are in favor of the military alliance.

Ann Wright is a retired US army colonel and former diplomat. She resigned over the Iraq war in 2003 and is now part of Veterans for Peace. Wright is worried about the militarization of US foreign policy, although she admits it is unlikely NATO will ever disappear.

“If you look at the reduction in militarization of the world, we have been a failure. But there’s another way to look at this. I think it’s totally possible and there should be a huge reduction in the amount of money that’s spent by each of the nations. The increase that has happened since the annexation of Crimea by Russia is extraordinary.”

The day before the summit, a large demonstration was held in Brussels against President Trump’s visit, but many signs at the protest also were critical of NATO.

The outcomes of the counter-summit and how to slowly phase out budgets for NATO are not shared with the heads of states as there is no interaction between the two, according to organizer Ludo De Brabander.

“Even if we would like to, it would be difficult. I don’t think these kinds of summits take us very serious. Because we have messages that are really very much opposed to what their aims are. But we organize this because it’s very important to inform the population,” said De Brabander.

“If we do a demonstration, it’s a very public event. And for us its very important to tell people what NATO really is. And that it’s not in the interest of the population to have an organization such as NATO.”

The counter-summits have been organized since 2009, always coinciding with the bloc’s summits.

With NATO having just agreed to increase support to the US-led coalition against Islamic State, it’s likely that military budgets are staying even or increasing. NATO accounts for more than half of all money that is spent world wide on military budgets. And the new headquarters, inaugurated at the summit on Thursday, was reported to have cost over $1 billion.

Pacifists Protest Against NATO Summit in Brussels
Sputnik News

BRUSSELS (May 25, 2017) – On Thursday, the Belgian capital began hosting a meeting of NATO leaders with the the participation of first-time attendee US President Donald Trump.

“We are holding a peaceful demonstration while behind our backs participants of the NATO summit will state that they want peace at the same time resorting to military means. NATO must be dissolved, it tries to find reasons for its existence,” Stephanie Demblon, representative of the Agir pour la Paix pacifist organization said, as quoted by the RTBF media outlet.

The agenda of the NATO summit includes such issues as the alliance’s role in fight against terrorism and burden-sharing across the bloc. No final communique is expected to be adopted.

The summit was also accompanied by a continuation of Wednesday’s anti-Trump protest, which was attended by at least 9,000 participants, according to local police.

Anti-NATO Leftists Rally against MSC in Munich

(February 18, 2017) — Anti-NATO protesters mounted a demonstration in Munich, Saturday, as international politicians gathered in the city for the Munich Security Conference (MSC). Protesters marched through the city centre of Munich, calling for freedom and an end to what they perceive as NATO warmongering.

According to the organisers the participants of the conference are not concerned with the peaceful resolution of conflicts or security issues, but about the profit interests of multinational corporations and worldwide dominance.

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