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Widespread protests at militarists' meetings
Protests were held in Seville, Spain, to coincide with an informal summit held by NATO defence ministers.
Thousands of anti-war demonstrators turned out between 9 and 11 February, angry at NATO plans to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The protests culminated with a citywide march on Sunday 11 February with protesters voicing their opposition to imperialist aggression and the creeping militarisation of everyday life.
Against the “war meeting”
Another event marked by mass protests was the Munich Security Conference, also held on 9-11 February. The annual conference, now in its 43rd year, is often used as an opportunity for officials to conduct diplomacy in an informal setting. Items on the agenda this year were the proposed placement of US missile defence batteries in Europe, Iran's atomic weapons programme, and the war in Afghanistan.
Around 300 protesters gathered on 9 February on the city's central Marienplatz under the slogan “Against the NATO War Meeting, Against Torture, War, and Occupation, Against Racism and Nazi Propaganda”. Around the same time, about 200 people on bicycles rode through Munich's inner city. On Saturday 10 February approximately 7000 demonstrators marched through the centre of town - 46 people were arrested, with all but two released by Sunday afternoon.
The protests in Spain and Germany have been echoed in Poland and the Czech Republic - the proposed sites for the US “missile defence” base. The protesters mostly cited a potential security threat and an aversion to the encroachment of foreign military influence.
The issue of increased global militarisation is also central to the anti-G8 protests to be held in Germany this summer. Activists are planning on highlighting the link between capitalism, exploitation, nationalism and war in a demonstration at the bombing range in the Kyritz-Ruppiner heathland. The German military has plans to build a practice ground here to conduct training for comprehensive air warfare, including tactical nuclear weapons. If allowed, this would be the largest such bombing range on the European mainland.
For information about the International mobilisation against the G8 see http://dissentnetzwerk.org/