Italians mark Gulf War anniversary with anti-NATO demonstrations, with an orchestra

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Innokenty Vishnevsky
In Antifascist, January 18, 2016

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

In Italy, there is a growing protest movement against NATO, as more and more Italians see it as the real threat to peace, rather than as the defender of European values, which those in the Brussels HQ of the military alliance are so fond of dreaming about. 

Mass anti-NATO rallies and marches to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the war in the Persian Gulf were held in Italian cities Saturday, January 16. 

Thousands of Italians were protesting not only against the military interventions of the US and NATO in the world, but also against the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance into eastern Europe, namely, the planned accession of Montenegro into the military bloc.

The march in Rome was accompanied by an amateur orchestra, and passed from Esquiline Hill into the central streets of the city. In Milan, the procession started from Piazza San Babila, where dozens of sky lanterns were launched. The demonstrators with their anti-NATO slogans marched through the streets of Trieste, Sassari, Ancona, Vicenza, Pisa (near the military base of Camp Darby) and the city of Sigonella (Sicily), the location of the US Naval Airbase.

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Unlike previous demonstrations, the ones on Saturday had a significantly expanded geography of protest participants. Among the participants were a large number of immigrants, immigrants from Africa and Asia, as well as representatives of the Russian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian communities.

Amidst the various flags of the world, protesters carried banners with slogans 
“NATO = war and terrorism” 
and 
“Outside of NATO = Outside of War.” 

The demonstrators protested against the build-up of the war in eastern Syria, and in Iraq, in the Donbas and to the south, in Libya. The protesters denounced the plans of the Italian leadership to lead a military operation in Libya against the IS, intended to involve 6000 Italian soldiers. 

Speakers talked about the fact that the EU and the United States first tore Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Iraq to shreds under far-fetched pretexts, have provoked a massive flow of refugees to Europe, and are now offering more war, to invade these countries, as a cure. 

Other items causing no less concern among the protesters: 

  • The further expansion of NATO into Montenegro, 
  • The involvement of Italy in NATO operations, and 
  • The expansion of the American presence in the country, where there are already 113 US bases.
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