The Guardian March 5, 2003


Greece: NATO turned away

In Greece thousands of people massed for two days of demonstrations 
against the presence offshore of the NATO Standing Naval Force of the 
Mediterranean. Protestors also targeted the Greek Government and the 
presidency of the European Union with their slogans

Very early in the morning on February 19, the Communist Party of Greece and 
the left-led PAME labour federation hung two huge banners visible from the 
sea, saying "NATO killers go home" and "NATO fleet is not welcome".

On the evening of February 20, the protest continued with one of the 
biggest demonstrations in the city's history.

As a result, the Greek Government was forced to appeal to the commander of 
the fleet of US, Spanish, Turkish, Dutch and Italian vessels, not to enter 
the harbour.

On February 20, the German vessel tried to dock at a secondary port in a 
suburb of Piraeus to take on supplies. Members of the seamen's unions 
immediately gathered at the dock, together with area young people. As a 
result, the ship left in midday, empty-handed.

During a press conference, February 20, aboard the NATO fleet's flagship, 
Greek journalists presented US Admiral Gregory G Johnson, commander of the 
NATO forces in Southern Europe, with a statement protesting any attack on 
Iraq, opposing the role of NATO and emphasising the popular opposition to 
the fleet's presence in Piraeus.

Italy: Train stopping

The Government has illegally guaranteed the US military the right to use 
state (public) infrastructure to move its weapons, vehicles and personnel 
through Italy. On February 21, when the first trains left, protestors 
immediately began to stop the trains which were travelling from Ederle 
(near Vicenza) bound for the US military base at Camp Derby, near Pisa.

On February 22, despite intimidation and threats from the authorities the 
protests spread to other towns with varying degrees of success.

At Campo di Marte (Padua), where a train was blocked for hours, the route 
of the following train was changed. It was stopped by protestors in Verona 
for half an hour, until police charged on demonstrators.

In Pisa there were two demos, the first in the morning at the military 
airport, the second in the afternoon with 600 people marching from the 
station to the centre of the city.

The British consulate was occupied in Torino.

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