Victim of A-bomb joins walkers to NATO and U.S nuclear base of Kleine Brogel (B)
Mayors and walkers join in call for a total ban of nuclear weapons
Brussels, July 22nd 2005 - The mayor of Hiroshima, Mr. Akiba Tadatoshi, calls for people to participate in the peace walk from Ypres in the West of Belgium, to the U.S. nuclear weapon base in Kleine Brogel, in the north of Belgium. The Peace walk, organised by For Mother Earth, member of Friends of the Earth international, will take place between Tuesday 26th July and Tuesday 9th August. Mr. Yoshio Sato, a survivor of the A-bomb in Hiroshima will also join the walkers in Belgium. On August 6, 1945, Mr. Yoshio Sato was exposed to the atomic bomb as he was just one kilometer away from ground zero.
The walk marks the 60th anniversary of the use of nuclear weapons against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at the end of the Second World War. In the letter to For Mother Earth, the mayor of Hiroshima writes "I hope many will join -even for one day- and walk in solidarity with the survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose wish is "No more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis ever again".
For Mother Earth supports the campaign of the “Mayors For Peace” network for the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. In a clear sign of the building pressure for nuclear disarmament, almost half of all Belgian mayors have joined the international network, headed by Mr. Tadatoshi, which includes over 1000 mayors in 110 countries. The mayor of Hiroshima states that "At a time when apathy and ignorance are common enemies, I applaud the walkers who are taking this action to expose the double standard of the Western states concerning weapons of mass-destruction. Of course, we cannot condone nuclear weapons in North-Korea, Iran or Iraq. But why should we tolerate nuclear weapons in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey or anywhere else?".
The U.S. deploys an estimated of 480 tactical nuclear weapons on NATO bases in six European countries, a nuclear force larger than the entire Chinese nuclear stockpile. Furthermore the U.S. is the only nuclear weapon state to deploy nuclear weapons outside of its own territory. The NATO base at Kleine Brogel has a capacity to store up to 20 US B61 nuclear bombs, each of which has a lethal power that exceeds the power of the Hiroshima bomb by up to 14 times. In 1945 140,000 people died in Hiroshima following the use of a single atomic bomb.
SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) estimates that there are 13,470 operational nuclear warheads in the world. If one includes the number of inactive warheads, the total global inventory is some 27,600 warheads.
Meetings are set up with mayors all along the route and of course Mr. Sato will be the main speaker at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations and actions. The walk will include participants from Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, Japan, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Finland, Moldavia. The participation of peace campaigners from several countries in the global south, including Nigeria, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh depends on their receiving visas to join the walk.
On 13th July, the Belgian House of Representatives approved a resolution asking for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe. This follows a similar resolution on April 21st in the Belgian Senate. This is the first time that a parliamentary assembly has dared to ask for the withdrawal of U.S nuclear weapons from its territory.
A spokesperson of For Mother Earth stated: “We have known for a long time that the majority of people want nuclear disarmament. Now we are seeing a clear support for this demand from our elected representatives- in city councils, and in the Senate and the House of representatives. It is now up to the government to remove these weapons, and fulfill the clear wish of the people.”
The approximately 250 km long walk will start on Tuesday, July 26th, in the peace town of Ypres, and will end at the secret NATO nuclear weapons base at Kleine Brogel, passing via NATO Headquarters in Brussels where an action is planned on Monday August 1st. At Kleine Brogel, a peace camp will be held from August 6th, the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, until August 9th, the day of the commemoration of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing.
Tue., July 26th Ypres – Roeselare photo-opportunity at 9:30 a.m.
Wed., July 27th Roeselare - Tielt
Thu., July 28th Tielt - Ghent
Fri., July 29th Ghent - Aalst
Sat., July 30th Aalst – Brussels
Sun., July 31st rest day and action training
Mon., Aug. 1st NATO (Evere) photo-opportunity at 10:30 a.m.
Tue., Aug. 2nd Brussel - Leuven
Wed., Aug. 3rd Leuven - Diest
Thu., Aug. 4th Diest - Leopoldsburg
Fri., Aug. 5th Leopoldsburg - Kleine Brogel
Sat., Aug. 6th Peer - Kleine Brogel, Hiroshima photo-opportunities
Sun., Aug. 7th Kleine Brogel, Peace action camp
Mon., Aug. 8th Kleine Brogel, Peace action camp
Tue., Aug. 9th Nagasaki commemoration action in Ghent photo-opportunity
For Mother Earth has been organizing peace walks since 1991. Eleven For Mother Earth walks have covered over 12.000 km in their campaign for a nuclear test ban and the abolition of nuclear weapons. For Mother Earth has also been one of the main organizers of the Bomspotting campaign, where thousands of citizens were arrested in attempt to inspect the U.S. nuclear weapons base or NATO headquarters.
More information and registrations:
Press contact: Pol D’Huyvetter firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile +32-495-28 02 59
For Mother Earth - Voor Moeder Aarde vzw
member of Friends of the Earth International
K. Maria Hendrikaplein 5
9000 Gent - Belgium
Phone +32-9-242 87 52 or 04
Mobile +32-495-28 02 59
Fax +32-9-242 87 51
For more information:
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