Peaceful Demo. in Poland Against US Missile Base Ends In
Autor: Ploughshares, 31.03.2008.
On Saturday March 29th over 700 people attended a protest at
noon in the city of Slupsk, Northern Poland, against the Polish
government's plans to permit the construction of a US missile
base, part of their notorious 'Star Wars' program. On Friday
and Saturday solidarity vigils were held with Polish activists
in Prague, Dublin, London, Hamburg, Berlin, Moscow, Washington
and the U.S. spy base at Fylingdales in England.
The demonstration was organised by a wide range of Polish anarchist
groups working together as the Polish Campaign Against Militarism.
A variety of representatives from other political groups and
anti-militarist campaigns attended the demonstration. The 'No
Logo' guideline helped keep focus on participants opposition
to the missile base and avoided a space which merely provided
a marketing opportunity for political parties to promote themselves.
It was the first time a manifestation was held at the potential
site for the U.S. government's missile defence program in Poland,
where they intend to have 10 ground based interceptors costing
billions of dollars. In return, the Polish government are requesting
the U.S. help modernise the Polish army to the tune of $20 billion
A recent poll conducted amongst residents of Slupsk city established
that 60% of residents are against the proposed missile base
and that 87% demand a referendum on the issue. The opposition
level is similar throughout Poland. An agreement may be signed
between both governments as early as June, construction would
most likely occur from January 2009 and be completed by 2013.
Bin the bomb
Approximately 200 local residents listened and participated
in a 'Hyde Park' public debate by the town hall while a 'No
Missile Shield' newspaper was distributed outlining the arguments
against the missile base and increased militarisation. The speakers
included Australian Ciaron O'Reilly who has spent over 2 years
in U.S., Australian and Irish jails fighting for peace and justice
by nonviolently disabling military equipment. A large majority
of locals who spoke from the platform and were in attendance
were opposed to the missile shield.
The Food Not Bombs group kept participants strong and healthy
with delicious vegetarian food.
On the move
Two excellent samba bands from Gdansk and Poznan and a street
theatre group from Torun and Slupsk led the demonstrators through
the streets after the public discussion has concluded. Placards
had slogans including, 'We don't want to be a missile shield
for the U.S.', 'No Shield, No War, We are for Peace', while
participants chanted and danced around the city centre. It attracted
a lot of attention and many local residents, both young and
old, joined in.
At the end of the demonstration 100 people marched 4km from
Slupsk to the ex-soviet military base next to the town of Redzikowo
and likely site for U.S. weapons. Riot police blocked participants
entrance and forced them from the area, which is currently a
disused Polish military property undergoing.
The demonstration finished in Redzikowo town at 4.30pm where
demonstrators had positive interactions with local residents,
despite the bad weather. The reception we received bodes well
for future co-operation. Appeals were made at a military barracks
for Polish soldiers to stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq
and to resist defending the violent interests of the rich and
powerful arms companies and politicians against their peaceful
Police repression and revenge against activists
At 6am, on Sunday morning after the demonstration, police violently
broke their way into an apartment in Slupsk, arresting 23 anti-missile
defence activists under the pretext that they were disturbing
the 'night silence'. They used tear gas and batons, forcing
their way into the apartment and beating the 18-25 year old
peace activists staying there. One person had his arm broken.
By noon on Sunday, 30 protestors had gathered outside the police
station where the anti-militarist activists were being detained.
The police are accusing some of the arrested of unethical force
against a police officer and disturbing the peace. It remains
to be seen whether the injured activists will bring charges
against the police officers for their brutal revenge on those
opposed to the U.S. missile base. Those present at the apartment
during the police assault have stated that the police version
of events is not true. At 8pm Sunday 13 remained in police custody.They
are due to be released by 3pm tomorrow. activists are due to
Funds to support the repressed activists and the Campaign Against
Militarism would be gratefully appreciated. If you want to donate
to support the efforts to stop the construction of the missile
base in Poland you can do so by transferring your donation to
Jakub Gawlikowski (PL) 05 1140 2004 0000 3702 4238 2269
BRE Bank S.A. Retail Banking, al. Mickiewicza 10, 90-050
SORT CODE: 11402004
Write "For Repressed Activists" to support those currently
Write "Against the Missile Shield" for general campaign
Campaign Against Militarism.