Hundreds of anti-war activists swarmed the streets of Belgium’s capital, decrying NATO ahead of the organization’s upcoming summit. Chanting protesters took aim personally at the US president, toting “Trump not welcome” signs.
The rally on Saturday saw demonstrators marching towards the NATO headquarters, where the leaders of the 28-member alliance are set to meet on 11-12 July for an annual summit. The activists, representing an array of organizations that united under the motto ‘Make peace great again,’ chanted and carried banners reading “Stop NATO – stop war,” “Trump not welcome” and “NATO GAME OVER” as they peacefully paraded in the streets.
Although rally was held in the center of Europe, activists took the opportunity to lambast Trump’s domestic policies, with a group of protesters led by the Amnesty International marching under an “End Family Detention” banner in reference to the controversial policy of separating migrant children from adults at the border, which was recently revoked.
Some carried Palestine and Cuba flags, protesting against Israeli violence in the West Bank and the US blockade of the Caribbean island.
The colorful procession also featured activists wearing masks, mocking US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko.
The protest on Saturday preceded the anti-NATO conference on Sunday, which will see dozens of activists and organizations from all over the word coming to Brussels, Iraklis Tsavdaridis, executive secretary of the World Peace Council (WPC), a self-described “anti-imperialist” international organization promoting diversity and universal disarmament, told RT.
The ultimate goal of all the anti-NATO activities planned for the weekend is to emphasize that “NATO was never a peace-defending organization,” he said, adding that the threat the bloc poses to global peace and security has only increased over time due to its rampant military build-up – first and foremost on Russia’s doorstep.
“It has been always an aggressive, offensive, criminal, war-mongering organization, especially these days when NATO is unfolding its new plans to deploy troops on the Baltic sea up to Bulgaria along the borders with the Russian Federation, to deploy an anti-missile shield in Romania and Poland, to increase its pressure in the Middle East,” Tsavdaridis said.
Peace-loving people must stand up to NATO, he stated, calling on peace movements and activists to seek the dissolution of the Cold War relic, which entails the “struggle for each member-state’s disengagement and withdrawal” from the alliance.
Speaking in the run-up to Saturday’s rally, Tsavdaridis argued that the people’s anger should not be directed at Trump or any other personalization of power, but rather at the policies championed by NATO member states for years that spark and foment wars.
“For us, it is not a matter of a person, of demonization of one person, it’s the rejection of the policies of NATO states’ governments, which are unanimously ratifying and deciding the anti-people plans, the anti-peace plans,” he said.
It was expected that up to 15,000 people would join the rally, although the actual turnout seemed to be lower, judging by photos and videos posted on social media.
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