100 arrested at Belgian NATO base as NPT conference starts in New York
Kleine Brogel (Belgium), April 24 2000 - As the review conference for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) starts today at the UN headquarters in New York, over 300 peace campaigners held a non-violent direct action at the NATO nuclear weapon base o f Kleine Brogel in the north of Belgium. During the colorful protest 100 'citizens inspectors' were arrested as they entered the alerted NATO base in search for evidence to prove the illegal deployment of 10 US B-61 nuclear weapons. The presence of these US nuclear bombs is probably the best kept public secret in Belgium, as NATO continues to oppose any disclosure of information for both Members of Parliament, press and the public.
The disarmament campaigners demand the immediate withdrawal of the estimated 150 US nuclear weapons in Belgium, Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as an important step towards complete nuclear disarmament. The sharing of the US nuclear weapons with other NATO allies is in breach with Article I and II of the NPT, while the political nuclear deterrent is also violating Article VI which committed all parties to the NPT to work towards a Treaty Banning all nuclear weapons. They also oppose and condemn the US plans to breach the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty as a new threat encouraging a new nuclear arms race.
Today the protestors were joined once again by Belgian Members of Parliament and famous authors, while actors took the lead of the theatrical demonstration. The organizers, For Mother Earth and the War Resisters International, have been campaigning fo r several years against the 'preparation of war crimes and crimes against humanity through NATO's nuclear deterrent'. The spokespeople refer to the July 1996 historic ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The World Court concluded that the threat or use of nuclear weapons was found to be in violation with international law, while also finding binding obligations for a treaty banning all nuclear weapons.
All nuclear weapons have to be abolished, as demanded by the global network Abolition 2000, gathering almost 2000 NGO's around the planet. For decades a large majority of states and the public opinion have demanded such a global treaty banning over 35, 000 nuclear warheads still remaining a daily threat to humanity and the natural environment.
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