Press release: Before the NATO summit: Police switches to escalation – the political message of the protest is to be sidelined

Stuttgart/Bonn, 29 March 2009. The campaign NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO, which is preparing nonviolent protests and actions of civil disobedience for the NATO summit in Strasbourg, criticises the behaviour of politicians and police in advance of the NATO summit. In stead of deescaling, the conflict is already now being escalated by the authorities using an absurd prognosis of threats. The forceful acting of the police that has been announced, strong border controls, and the conversion of Baden-Baden and Strasbourg and fortress cities protected by the police are aimed at discouraging potential participants from participating in the protests. After the G8 in Heiligendamm in 2007, the German government once again uses the German military for internal security, in contravention of the German constitution. This is to prevent many citizens from using their basic right of freedom of assembly. It seems obvious that to those in power the basic rights of EU citizens are just an inconvenience and can be annulled at will.

Although the organisers of the preparation camp in Strasbourg were mostly able to change the conditions for the camp in the contract which were not acceptable (20,000 Euros of deposit and the naming of 150 persons who would be responsible for certain areas), all those present at the setting up of the camp are – in contradiction to the contract – checked by French police and subjected to identity checks without any suspicion of crime. This also obstructs the preparation and training for nonviolence action. At the same time this kind escalation – once again – focusses public perception of the protests on the issue of violence and criminalises the resistance. The issues which the protesters want to raise are sidelined and get our of view. The campaign NATO-ZU/Shut down NATO therefore demands from all representatives of the media, to report correctly on the critique of the protest movement.

The protests are aimed at a NATO summit where those in government once again will stress and strengthen their strategy for world-wide wars of intervention, in contravention to international law. This includes the claim to be able to fight wars to secure economic interests, independent of international law, and to further marginalise the United Nations. In addition, the alliance wants to include a first-strike option for nuclear weapons also to prevent nuclear proliferation, in stead of complying with the disaramament demands of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The protestors demand from all NATO governments the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, an end to all military intervention concepts of the European Union and NATO, and the abandonment of all imperialist interests as objectives of military policy (i.e. European Security Concept). Not the strengthening of civil-military cooperation, as demanded by Angela Merkel in her statement, is to be the priority, but for Germany and other European countries a withdrawal from NATO as a first step towards a final dissolution of NATO.

Contact:
Roland Blach, +49-177-2507286 (German)
Martin Singe, +49-177-5864147 (German)
Andreas Speck, +44-7739-498335 (English)