On Sunday, January 31, 2010, a group of bombspotters opposed to nuclear weapons entered the Kleine Brogel Air Base. To their great surprise, they managed to walk for more than an hour on the runway.
The activists are trainers of new bombspotters in the techniques of non-violent direct action. This activity at the Kleine Brogel Air Base was an opportunity for training in non-violent civil disobedience. Having used their techniques to get past the barbed wire surrounding the base, they managed to reach the 11 bunkers where the US nuclear bombs are stored. They were then arrested by heavily armed soldiers. Their cameras, video cameras and mobile phones were confiscated. The bombspotters tried to explain to the soldiers their perspectives on peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
They received a brutal response from the soldiers, who were not very receptive to the pro-peace messages. After being released, one of the activists said: “The soldiers blindfolded us for hours. They forced us to our knees in the snow, our arms held out at 90 degrees. We saw everything at the base, but they didn’t want us to see which soldiers were intimidating us.”
The army was most worried about whether the bombspotters had managed to locate, photograph and film the bunkers in which the nuclear weapons are stored. Despite being subjected to several thorough searches, one of the bombspotters succeeded in hiding one of the camera memory cards.
The bombspotters remain determined. This latest action is only one of several on the agenda for 2010. In fact, this year is a crucial one for nuclear disarmament with decisive moments in terms of the future of nuclear weapons.
The US as well as NATO are redefining their nuclear strategies. The UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is starting in New York on May 3, 2010. The NPT is the commitment to disarmament made by countries in possession of nuclear weapons.
The political juncture has never been as favourable for making a call for nuclear disarmament. From a Belgian commitment of support for a disarmament initiative to the determination to make a success of the NPT review conference, it only takes one step!
This is why Vredesactie is calling for the operations of the nuclear base to be permanently stopped using non-violent direct action. It is the fifth action on the base in less than three months and numerous groups of bombspotters from many countries will go there in the coming months with a view to denouncing the illegal presence of nuclear bombs.
On April 3, 2010, an action of non-violent civil disobedience, bringing together thousands of bombspotters, will block the base. This day has also been chosen for actions at all nuclear bases in Europe.
Contact for the action: Benoît Calvi: + 32484 05 20 28: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on past and upcoming actions, go to www.bombspotting.de
*Translation: Nickolas Woods*