Home Nonviolent defense NATO summit met with wave of creative protests – Waging Nonviolence

NATO summit met with wave of creative protests – Waging Nonviolence


In Madrid on Monday, a group of around 30 anti-war activists organized a die-in at the Reina Sofia museum, lying like corpses in front of Pablo Picasso’s painting representing the bombing of Guernica, striking placards on which could read: “War is the death of people. War is the death of Art.

The protest was organized by Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, marking one of the few protests, marches and community dialogues organized around this week’s NATO summit in Madrid. The summit, which takes place in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, is expected to lead to increased military spending in NATO countries and has paved the way for the expansion of NATO status to Sweden and Finland.

In what he called “the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced plans to increase the size of forces. NATO’s collective response to over 300,000, an increase of over 650%.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even some Spanish politicians who have traditionally criticized NATO have been relatively muted in their support. Yet as NATO expands its power and reach, critics fear it will lead to increased militarization and less funding for social services in light of soaring inflation and climate-induced crises. climate, as well as increased militarization deployed against refugees at Europe’s borders.

Thus, the demonstrators showed creativity. On Tuesday, dozens of smock-clad activists marched into Madrid’s army war school, scrawling anti-NATO messages on its walls with colorful paint in a bid to turn the facility into a “school Peace”. Police arrested 29 activists for the action.

Activists have renamed the Madrid Army War School the ‘School of Peace’. (Twitter/Fridays of Future Madrid)

Last weekend, an alternative peace summit organized by global activists in Madrid called for the dissolution of NATO and a demilitarized security system and investment in social progress.

Elsewhere in the capital, a group of La Guinda Activa activists emptied red liquid into the park’s fountains – temporarily coloring them the color of blood – and covering the area with pamphlets noting their “rejection of the NATO summit in Madrid, the militarization of our city, and the inter-imperialist wars, fewer military bases and more community centers.

Also on the NATO summit agenda were calls to mainstream unregulated immigration as a national security threat to member states, thereby further militarizing Europe’s borders. The proposal comes less than a week after 37 sub-Saharan migrants died trying to scale a border barrier between Morocco and Melilla, Spain.

“The victims of the tragedy in Melilla agonized for hours under the cruel gaze of those who were supposed to help them and did not,” tweeted Helena Garzon, leader of the Walking Borders group.

Protesters marked the Spanish Foreign Ministry “Closed for criminal activity”. (Facebook/Extinction Rebellion Spain)

In a direct action, protesters blocked the entrance to the Spanish Foreign Ministry with a large banner stating that it was ‘closed for criminal activity’. They also condemned the officials’ decision to increase NATO’s military spending instead of acknowledging its responsibility for the Melilla tragedy and the plight of climate refugees.

Earlier protests against the NATO summit culminated in a larger street demonstration on Sunday, with more than 2,200 people marching on the capital, although organizers put the number much higher. During the march, a protester said El País that he had spent the last 40 years protesting against a military base in his municipality.

“No NATO, no bases, no military spending,” protesters shouted.

As the summit wrapped up on Thursday, President Biden announced that the United States would provide an additional $800 million to Ukraine in the coming days, in addition to increasing its military presence in Europe.

” I’ve had it up to here [with] this case of weapons and murders. The solution they are proposing is more guns and wars, and we are still paying for that,” Concha Hoyos, a protester and retiree from Madrid, told Al Jazeera. “So no NATO, no [army] bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons.