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Activists arrested during NATO exercise

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10:58 CEST+02:00
Five people were arrested on Wednesday morning after entering a bombing range in northern Sweden being used as a part of a major NATO training exercise.

Police say those arrested are between 21- and 27-years-old and include four men and one women, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Ofog, a network of peace activists committed to demilitarization, confirmed in a statement that at least four of its members had gained access to a bombing range near the Vidsel Air Base in Norrbotten.

The base is one of two Swedish bases involved in Loyal Arrow, a NATO-led military exercise involving forces and equipment from ten countries, including Sweden.

“Yes, it was members of Ofog who were in the area,” said Ofog member Kajsa Sjöblom to the TT news agency.

“And we have new groups on the way to the area.”

The point of the Ofog action was “to stop the preparation of war crimes” and “prevent NATO from bombing the area further”, the group said in a statement.

After the Ofog activists had entered the bombing range, the group informed officials at the Vidsel base that civilians were in the area and that bombing exercises should be halted as a result.

According to Ofog, the activists were in the restricted area for five hours before being apprehended by security guards at the base and handed over to police.

“They are on their way to Luleå for questioning. We don't know any more at this time,” said Norbotten police spokesperson Ulf Suup to TT.

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