NATO ‘bombs’ peace activists
Activists in NATO war exercise get bombed!
13 Jun 2009 — warresisters
Late last night the six peace activists currently inside the NATO bombing range in northern Sweden heard three strong explosions. The first was around 22:00, the second at 22:40 and the third at 22:42. All the peace activists are unhurt but shocked that NATO choose to bomb the area despite the presence of civilians in the firing range. Of the 2000 personnel involved in the exercise approximately 1000 are British, based aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. We have no information on the nationality of the planes which bombed the area last night. The peace activists have now decided to leave the area for their own safety.
Inside the bombing rangeInside the bombing rangeFor over 36 hours peace activists from the Swedish anti-militarist network Ofog have been inside the restricted military area near Vidsel which NATO is this week using for the live-fire aerial exercise “Loyal Arrow”. Their intention was to promote debate about NATO and to actually prevent NATO from being able to use the bombing range. Ofog has been in contact with management at Vidsel since the activists first entered the range to ensure that they were aware that there were civilians inside the bombing range. Despite this NATO has chosen to continue to drop live bombs on the area.
The peace activists have now decided to leave the area but due to the distance and difficult terrain it will be some hours before they are actually outside the bombing range. Ofog requests again that NATO do not drop any more bombs on the area before they can guarantee that there are no civilians inside. Ofog will contact NATO when the peace activists have left the bombing range.
Inside the bombing rangeInside the bombing range“We know that NATO, the worlds largest war machine, have frequently bombed civilians – that is why we wanted to disrupt the exercise. But we never thought they would bomb civilians during an exercise in Sweden.” said Miriam Cordts from inside the bombing range.
Several pictures, taken with mobile phones inside the area are on the Ofog website, http://www.ofog.org. These show, for example, a tower inside the firing range, one of the military radar stations used by Vidsel and a picture of the peace activists as they entered the restricted military area.
Ofog are an anti-militarist network who work for peace through nonviolent direct action. During the Loyal Arrow exercise in Swedish Lapland Ofog have been there to protest against NATO with a series of protests, demonstrations and actions designed to promote debate about NATO and disrupt the exercise.