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16 Feb, 2009 08:07

Anti-NATO activists gear up weeks before alliance’s anniversary festivities

Anti-NATO activists are gearing up for mass protests surrounding the alliance's 60th anniversary celebrations. They have gathered in Strasbourg where NATO will hold its summit in April.

From April 3 to 5, 40 heads of state and government leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, will come to Strasbourg and Baden-Baden to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NATO alliance.

In the city that will co-host NATO’s April summit, there are those who are not feeling any warmth for the organisation.

The authorities have long-since begun preparations for the event that will mark the 60th anniversary of the alliance’s creation.

Anti-NATO activists are just as busy themselves.

Hundreds from across Europe have gathered at one of the city’s universities to discuss final arrangements for acts of civil disobedience, exercising their right to speak out against what they call an antiquated, war-mongering organisation.

“I think that NATO lacks the possibility of having a good relationship with the rest of the world, not just with Russia,” said Christophe Zander, a member of the Green Party and No to NATO organiser.

“In the Middle East and Africa, NATO pollutes all the relations,” he added.

The organisers consider their direct action in April is vital. They say NATO is not about protecting freedoms, but about infringing them on a global scale.

“The war in Afghanistan shows us what NATO stands for, war against the population of a poor country,”
said Julia Heier from No to NATO.

Many there are French and are outraged by their country's renewal of full capacity ties with NATO after it all but pulled out of the alliance’s military structure under General Charles de Gaulle.