US Nukes in Europe: NATO HQ blocked by protest

Feature story - June 8, 2006
Twenty-four Greenpeace activists from Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK were arrested this morning after staging a protest at NATO’s Brussels Headquarters. Their demand: removal of the 480 US-owned and controlled nuclear weapons from Europe. The action occurred as NATO Defence Ministers are preparing for a high-level meeting on the future of NATO.

Greenpeace activists block NATO entrance in protest of 480 US-owned and controlled nuclear weapons stationed in Europe.

A Greenpeace truck carrying a 3.6 meter (12 feet) full-size replica of a US B61 nuclear bomb blocked the entrance to NATO with activists bearing banners saying "Nukes out of NATO." More activists entered the site carrying banners onto the NATO symbol statue, while others dropped a two-meter-square banner repeating the message from NATO's main building.

Sixteen years after the end of the cold war, 480 US Nuclear weaponsremain in Europe. They are currently stationed in Germany, Belgium, Italy,the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK. Each of these nuclear weapons has adestructive capacity of up to ten times that of the bomb whichdestroyed Hiroshima, and have a combined power capable of wiping Europeoff the map.

Last week a report released by the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDC) chaired by Hans Blix called for the 480 US-owned and controlled nuclear weapons to be removed from Europe and returned to US soil. The WMDC report provides great detail on the dangers of US nuclear weapons. The Commission also explains how these weapons impede international efforts to negotiate further nuclear reductions with Russia.

The governments of NATO countries have a direct role in shaping NATO policy and can insist that these weapons be removed from their territory. The US has taken their weapons home several times before: Canada, Greece, Denmark (Greenland) and Iceland are all now free of US nuclear bombs.

Last week we released opinion polls showing that 70 percent of Europeansliving in those countries which host US nuclear weapons want to live ina nuclear-weapons-free Europe. The polling data also demonstrated thata  solid majority of Europeans -- 65.5 percent -- in the six countries whichhost US nuclear weapons are unaware of their presence.

"With all the debate over Iran's nuclear intentions, countries must accept their own responsibility for escalating nuclear tensions in the Middle East. By removing US NATO nuclear weapons European leaders have the opportunity to begin to address the concerns of their citizens, to strengthen the position of Europe in negotiations with the Middle East and Russia and take a real step towards achieving a nuclear weapons free more peaceful future" concluded Mattfield.

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Tell NATO to say "NO" to US Nuclear weapons in Europe.

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