The days leading up to the NATO Summit in Brussels on July 11-12, 2018 witnessed massive protests against war, demanding disarmament and peace and a solution to the urgent problems facing the masses of people.
Views of massive rallies in London to protest visit of US President and NATO Summit
Anti-NATO protests in Belgium (top), Ukraine (middle) and Germany (bottom)
Thousands of people participated in protest demonstrations in Brussels on July 7. The protests were organised by Belgian peace, environment, development and human rights organizations, as well as unions and activists from across Europe, under the banner of the international network “No to war – No to NATO.” The protestors pointed out that NATO plans to increase military investments up to 2% of GDP for each member state. For Europe this would mean an additional state expenditure of about 100 billion Euro, annually. The protestors angrily demanded that the money be invested instead, on eliminating poverty, providing employment and other social needs, preventing environmental degradation, etc.
On July 8th a counter summit to the NATO Summit was held in Brussels. This was organised by the international network “No to war – no to NATO” and by organizations from the Belgian peace movement.
100 participants from 15 NATO member countries and 5 non-NATO states attended the counter summit.
The participants of the counter summit opposed the massive militarisation that is being pushed for by the NATO states. They opposed the goal agreed upon by the NATO member states that each state should contribute 2% of its GDP for militarization. They demanded an immediate cutback in the global military expenses of NATO, estimated at 1.7 trillion US dollars. They demanded that this money be spent on addressing the growing needs of the people.
The participants demanded the abolition of all nuclear weapons. They pledged to work to build an even broader coalition in support of this. They demanded an end to all forms of arms exports and an end to drone warfare and further automatization and robotization of war. They called once again, for an international convention against drone warfare.
The counter summit unanimously agreed that the NATO military alliance is stronger and more comprehensive than every other war alliance in history. It encompasses not only Europe and North America but extends over the whole world, Asia in particular. It is aimed at the encirclement of Russia and China. Participants denounced the brutal wars of intervention carried out by the US imperialists and other imperialist powers, with the help of NATO troops, against various countries, as a violation of international law and the sovereignty of nations and peoples. They demanded withdrawal of NATO troops from the different parts of the world where they are currently stationed.
Participants opposed the growing militarization in Europe and pointed out how this is increasing the danger of war in the region.
The counter summit concluded with plans for stepping up the agitation demanding an end to NATO, together with peace-loving forces around the world, leading up to massive protest actions around the world, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO in April 2019.
Trump’s visit to Europe following the NATO Summit also saw massive protest actions. His first visit to Britain as US President, starting July 12, was marked by militant protest actions in all major cities and in Scotland as well. Protests took place in 50 cities across UK on July 13.The action was a protest against the Trump administration’s policies on issues ranging from immigration and race relations to women and climate change. People expressed the need to unite and speak out against the reactionary and xenophobic policies of, not just US imperialism but also of, the rulers in many countries of Europe. Tens of thousands of people marched in Central London from Portland Place towards Oxford Circus, against the visit of US President Donald Trump, carrying placards accusing the US administration of warmongering and racism.
Earlier in the afternoon on July 13, the Women’s March was held, in which thousands of women, along with men, marched through Central London, chanting slogans against Trump and US imperialism, beating on pots and pans and singing songs promoting international fraternity of people. The protestors denounced the NATO summit as another push for greater militarization, war and brutal violation of sovereignty of nations. They opposed the proposals of Trump for countries to increase their military spending, at a time when masses of people are suffering from poverty and unemployment. They denounced Trump’s visit to UK and criticized Trump’s policies against immigrants, resulting in the brutal separation of nearly 140 mothers from their children.
On the evening of July 13, more than 100,000 protestors marched in London, from Oxford Circus to Trafalgar Square, culminating in a huge public rally at Trafalgar Square. The protestors carried banners and raised slogans denouncing NATO, war, US imperialism and its attacks on the people, both in US and elsewhere in the world.
These protests show the great anger in people of various countries, against US imperialism and other imperialist powers, against militarization and wars of aggression, and against increased military expenditure while cruelly ignoring the basic needs of the people.