Police fear disruption at NATO military exercise

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected] • 8 Jun, 2009 Updated Mon 8 Jun 2009 11:35 CEST

Swedish police have asked the military for assistance as peace activists from across Europe head to Swedish Lapland to demonstrate against a NATO aerial exercise.


NATO's Response Force (NRF) will be in the northern reaches of Sweden on June 8th to begin an eight day exercise involving over 50 fighter jets and 1,000 soldiers from ten countries.

Sweden is not a member of NATO and peace activists from Germany, Finland and the UK are expected to descend on the country for demonstrations to protest against the exercise which has been given the name "Loyal Arrow."

The police force has now appealed to the armed forces for assistance in coping with the demonstrations and warned of direct action aimed at disrupting the exercise.

Police fear that the anti-militaristic activities will include bomb threats, "serious" demonstrations and sea-based direct actions targeting the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which will be stationed outside of Luleå during the exercise.

The Swedish non-violent anti-militaristic network Ofog, which works for a world free of nuclear weapons and militarism, declared their position in a statement on Monday.

"Just like NATO we will be in the air, on the land and in the sea. We will do everything in our power to show NATO that their business is hideous and deadly."

The group argued that "NATO is not a defensive alliance. It is the world's largest nuclear weapons club and war machine."

While Swedish forces are not participating in Loyal Arrow the country is a designated host country and is providing logistical support including air space, airports and areas to bomb.


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