Protesters rallied outside the Bulgarian Parliament, demanding the exit of Bulgaria from the NATO, in Sofia, Saturday, while the 2016 NATO Summit was taking place in the Polish capital of Warsaw.
Protesters waved Bulgarian flags and held banners that denounced the Alliance for its military operations in Eastern Europe.
SOT, Marin Marinov, Protester (Bulgarian): “I appeal to all Bulgarian people to block the [NATO] bases altogether, by all kinds of means, so that the NATO presence is limited and sent out of Bulgaria. We will do it that way.”
SOT, Marin Marinov, Protester (Bulgarian): “American supporters gave us free publicity. If some of them – like Anton Genov and that company – weren’t aggressive by throwing stones, attacking others and spilling oil – which put us in a danger and woke up media and the community – the rally of the Wolves would be quiet and still. We would plant trees, go to the monasteries and churches, and then go home, which was the real goal – to meet other Slavic people and talk about what we have in common. We have a lot in common. Even though our Slavic origin, the east Orthodox origin, is under question, the writing and language is almost the same. Our understanding without the need of translators is most essential.”
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Hundreds of people gathered in central Warsaw for a rally against NATO expansion into Eastern Europe. Security measures were so tight – police even tried to stop a group of protesters from joining the demonstration. But the organizers managed to avoid confrontation and settled the issue with police officials.
Denis Bolotsky — “No to war — No to NATO” — these are the demands of peace activists, who gathered in the center of the Polish capital just as US President Barack Obama and his fellow leaders of NATO countries were holding a summit a few blocks away.According to protesters, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its increased troop movements and aggressive maneuvers in Eastern Europe, is a threat to peace and stability, and there are signs that the US and its allies are preparing for a big war.
Filip Ilkowski from No to War — No to NATO initiative told Sputnik, that Polish peace activists have a long tradition of protesting against militarization. They foresaw the negative consequences of the 2003 war against Iraq, and now warn against militarization in Eastern Europe.
Ilkowski’s group is one of 6 Polish organizations taking part in the 2016 Warsaw counter-summit, a series of meetings and a demonstration against NATO activities.
“From a symbolic point of view it’s a very important demonstration,” says Ilkowski. “Because the whole Polish political establishment and the majority of Polish media is united for both militarization and NATO troops in Poland. So when we have an alternative view and at the same time organize protest, of course it’s not easy. But, at the same time, it’s clearly important and in the long perspective, I think the question of militarization will be very important in Poland.”
Besides Polish activists, Saturday’s demonstration was attended by delegations from 18 countries — Russia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and the US.
Phil Wilayto is a member of the United National Antiwar coalition. He traveled to Warsaw from the US to voice his concerns about NATO expansion. Wilayto told Sputnik, that people in the US don’t get enough information from the media about what’s really going on in the world:
“This is Presidential election year, and none of the candidates, from the right or the left is really talking about what the US is doing, how we have military forces in 150 countries around the world, how the US military budget is equal to the next 9 countries combined, how the US is pushing NATO to expand eastward, toward Russia. How the US is responsible for the increasing tensions, how the US was behind the right-wing coup that overthrew the president of Ukraine, and the new president, that came in now, wants to join NATO — what a surprise!”
On Sunday, July 10th, participants of the counter-summit will hold a strategy meeting to discuss the plans of the international peace movement.