10 international peace activists arrested after international nonviolent action at NEAT near Lulea, Sweden

Police plans to keep non-Swedish activists detained for three days / call for solidarity

170 international peace activists from 17 countries today entered the North European Aerospace Test range in a massive act of nonviolent civil disobedience in the north of Sweden. Some 28 activists have been confirmed as arrested or detained, among them activist from Venezuela, Spain, Germany, UK and Finland. At the end of the day, police kept ten non-Swedish activists detained, and interrogated them at the police station of Lulea. Then a decision was taken to keep these ten activists detained for 72 hours, according to Swedish law.

A total of 201 people took part in the action, which aimed to expose the hidden role of the massive test range in the preparation for wars, including the testing of new military equipment such as drones, missiles and fighter planes.

The action started at midday with a pink carnival which involved people marking the test range and the road leading to it with pink arrows and the slogan ”War starts here, let’s stop it here!”. The airspace was marked by a release of pink balloons. Over 150 of the activists then entered the ”prohibited area” around the base in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, to draw attention to the war preparations taking place there and to place NEAT on the map.

The North European Aerospace Test range (NEAT), in the north of Sweden includes a bombing range the size of Belgium together with a larger restricted airspace. It is used for testing missiles, combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). Last summer the US Air Force used it for live fire bombing practice, and in 2009 the NATO Response Force used the area for the nuclear alliance's largest air exercise that year. Among the weapons tested at the range are the unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) such as those used in extra-judicial executions in Pakistan and elsewhere.

To achieve a quick release of the ten detained activists - among them WRI staff member Javier Garate and WRI Council member Rafael Uzcategui - War Resisters' International calls for phone calls, faxes, and protest emails to Lulea police station.:

Phone: +46-771141400
Fax: +46-920211218
Email: polismyndigheten.norrbotten@polisen.se

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International