15 pacifists made their way into the NATO Response Force HQ of Bétera (Valencia, Spain), after jumping the base safety fences in an act of civil disobedience

Valencia antiOTANValencia antiOTAN15 pacifists made their way into the NATO Response Force HQ of Bétera (Valencia, Spain), after jumping the base safety fences in an act of civil disobedience

This past Saturday, November 28th, around a hundred antimilitarist activists from Bilbao, Salamanca, Elche, Alicante, Zaragoza, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia gathered in the Valencian town of Bétera - at 3 km from
the military base. The activists intended to participate in the 7th Citizen Inspection, an initiative launched from Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC (Antimilitarist Alternative - Conscientious Objection Movement) under the slogan "Out of Afghanistan - Out of everywhere" to demand not only troops out of Afghanistan, but also to
abolish all armies.

Bétera (Valencia, Spain). Around 11:00 a.m. the pacifists reached the town in order to take the first steps of the protest day. The main street of the town was used one more year to place an information stand and welcome the activists, who were given instruction sheets with the planning of the action, a map of the area surrounding the complex and the traditional citizen inspector white coats.

After a short welcome meeting, the pacifists started marching across the town with signs and music towards the facilities of the NATO quarters. The antimilitarists wore umbrellas with symbols against the war and banners all along their way to the NATO complex.

Other activities were simultaneously held in other cities like Seville, Alicante, Murcia, Jaen, Barcelona, Madrid, Pamplona and Segovia. The citizen Inspection is meant to voice a significant part of the Spanish population, who wants to see all Spanish troops completely out of Afghanistan (almost 60% of the population), and abolition of the very armed forces (7% of the people, according to a recent survey from the very Ministry of Defense).

After half an hour of celebrating and marching along the road, the participants reached the military zone, at a place where the road forks into two roads to the military base (Olocau and Porta Coeli roads). Both policemen and soldiers were waiting for them. Then the march forked along the roads and then split into small groups which scattered around the military complex fence.

The march went on through both sides of the road, and some antimilitarist groups advanced and started to climb up the fencing to make their way into the military zone. Their attempts were successful close to the main entrance of the facilities. Another group manage to climb the fences next to the helicopter runway.

Meanwhile, other activists tried crossing under the metal fences, since there was enough room for it. Some crossed directly by climbing and trespassing the barbed-wire fence and then jumping into the military enclosure.

As a whole, three groups of activists got to trespass the safety fence via different points and unfolded a sign saying ?Use the military budget for social needs.? Out on the road, the rest of participants encouraged the activists, who were waiting to be expelled with their signs in hand.

After spending a few minutes inside the enclosure, all the pacifist groups were intercepted by policemen and soldiers. Twenty minutes later, the officers started to ask for identification from the participants and then introduced the activists into military vehicles.

All the participants were cleared from the enclosure a half an hour later. After leaving the facilities, all the participants gathered and marched to the Bétera town park, where they had paella to conclude the 7th Citizen Inspection.

Out of Afghanistan, out of everywhere

The citizen Inspection is an active and symbolic way to demand dismantling of those fences the activists will overcome, i.e., to demand both the closure and the civil and ecologic recovery of this military complex and of all military facilities. It is worth noting that this non-violent action is focused on the end of the Afghanistan
occupation, as well as other initiatives in different points of the Spanish territory, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Pamplona or Segovia.

Once again, Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC (AA-MOC) highlights the fact that "it is absurd to sell people the idea that armies -which are essentially a war-and-violence machinery, may be an agent for peace and justice", and again supports "the abolition of armies as the most realistic and reasonable measure to end with the issue of wars in the world." For the Valencia AA-MOC, "the continuous military intervention of Western countries in Afghanistan has only worsened the war state Afghan population has been suffering for over 30 years, and has not helped at all to pacify and reconstruct the country: it's been a failure at all levels, since the war has spread to Pakistan and revived anti-Westerner hate, fuelling fundamentalist armed groups."

War starts from Europe

By means of this action, AA-MOC also wishes to point out that wars at thousands of kilometers from us, such as that of Afghanistan, start indeed next to our homes, in facilities like Bétera's, making use of civil transportation infrastructures. In fact, according to recent statements to the media by the commander-in-chief of the NATO Headquarters in Madrid, the Bétera quarters will be appointed by the NATO in 2011 to command the whole occupation forces of the Alliance in Afghanistan: the ISAF.

Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC is a countrywide network of local, antimilitaristic, non-violent, grass-root, independent and assembly-functioning groups. AA-MOC is also coordinated with other similar networks throughout Europe.







NO. War starts from home.

NO. War starts from home.