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8 March 2009: Press Release No. 1

Civil Disobedience Training of BLOCK NATO in Strasbourg

On 3 and 4 April, NATO will meet in Baden-Baden and Strasbourg to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Activists from all over Europe are preparing a wide range of protest activities against this summit.

On 8th March 2009 some 50 activists presented the initiative BLOCK NATO with a public civil disobedience training in Strasbourg to the public.

„Civil disobedience trainings are very important in our preparations. The participants train several blockading techniques, i.e. how they can come through police lines without causing an escalation. But the most important effect is that the activists gain a lot of self-confidence through this kind of role-plays.”, explains Brigitte Bastian from “Désobéissants Civils Strasbourg” the concept of the trainings.

„The 60th anniversary of an aggressive military alliance that is responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, that still holds on to first use of nuclear weapons and has a share of 70% of the global military spending, is no reason to celebrate”, says Inez Louwagie of the Belgian Group Bombspotting and the international network NATO-ZU.

„The NATO-summit has no legitimacy. We declare openly that we resist by means of civil disobedience. In the morning of 4th April thousands of people will occupy the streets leading to the summit. They will neither be provoked nor hindered by the police and will express their clear “No”
to war and militarism with an act of conscious disobedience”, explains Christoph Kleine from the German network “Interventionistische Linke”
the plans of BLOCK NATO.

„The plans of the French authorities to completely ban protests in large parts of Strasbourg and to take numerous inhabitants in the red zones as hostages of the NATO-summit is unacceptable and a flagrant contradiction to democratic principles. With our actions we will make clear that we will not accept this attempt of NATO to block them off from any protest and criticism”, concludes Brigitte Bastian.

Your press contacts:

Brigitte Bastian (französisch, deutsch), +33-388-43-70-62

Inez Louwagie (französisch, englisch) +32 498 68 29 40

Christoph Kleine (deutsch, englisch), +49-172-9006161

Press invitation

Presentation of BLOCK NATO with public action training

Sunday, 8 March 2009, 1 p.m., Place de la République, Strasbourg

BLOCK NATO was founded by initiatives, networks and activists from the peace and anti-war movement from several European countries at the Activist Conference in Strasbourg on 14/15 February in Strasbourg.

The aim of BLOCK NATO is to effectively blockade and disrupt the NATO summit, with thousands of people occupying the access routes to the meeting place in Strasbourg in the morning of 4 April, and thus cutting of the summit from its infrastructure.

We think: 60 years of NATO are not a reason to celebrate, but a reason to resist with acts of civil disobedience! The actions of civil disobedience are - as are the camps, the counter-congress and the demonstration - part of the manifold protests against the NATO summit.

An important part of our preparations are action trainings, in which the participants prepare themselves for the planned mass blockades. On Sunday 8 March we will show parts of such an action training in public.

On this occasion the spokespersons of BLOCK NATO will take a stand on the following questions:

  • Why has the NATO summit no legitimacy and why are actions of Civil Disobedience justified?
  • What are the goals we want to reach with the blockade of the NATO summit both symbolically and practically?
  • What is our understanding of Civil Disobedience and how do we want to achieve our action goals despite the enormous police presence which can be expected?