Minnesota groups join global anti-NATO protests during the June NATO Summit
Minneapolis, MN – On June 28, over 60 people gathered alongside Washington Avenue outside of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office in solidarity with international protests against the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, where world leaders discussed the expansion of NATO, among other things. Rush-hour traffic honked in support as protesters chanted, “No war with Russia! Disband NATO now!”
“Yesterday the Spanish government prohibited protest against NATO in Madrid,” announced Michael Livingston of Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC). “Being the free people that they are, the anti-NATO activists immediately gathered at the Atocha Madrid train station, marched past the Prado Museum, down La Gran Via, the principal commercial road and gathered in the Plaza de España.”
Livingston, who had just returned from a trip to Spain himself, said, “Everyone I spoke with in my three weeks there said the same thing: the United States is throwing gasoline on a fire. NATO is playing a dangerous game.”
Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the Anti-War Committee spoke about NATO’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021, which left some 180,000 Afghans killed, and half of the children under age five years old experiencing malnutrition.
Aby-Keirstead stated, “Nobody is safer in Afghanistan because of U.S. troops, because of NATO occupation. Nobody. We are told repeatedly that NATO is the solution, and there’s this mythology that NATO is a defensive organization. It is not a defensive organization. It is a tool of domination. It is used to force the enemies of the 1% into submission no matter what the consequences are. And from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Libya to now Ukraine, we have seen that all NATO leaves is death and destruction in its wake.”
Dr. Christine Harb from the Party for Socialism and Liberation summarized the disastrous history of the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, where an estimated 25,000 civilians were killed by some 10,000 bombings of non-military infrastructure as part of a no-fly zone campaign. Before this, Libyans had universal healthcare, the lowest poverty rates in all of Africa, and generally high living standards.
Harb stated that after NATO intervention, “Chattel slavery was reintroduced to the country, anti-Black lynching sprees became a common occurrence. Migrants, particularly Black Libyans, tried to escape the country and faced a perilous journey to reach Italy where they were refused entry and forced to die at sea. None of this mattered to the U.S. and NATO as long as they maintained access to Libya’s oil wells. The United States and NATO allies have either waged, profited or funded from almost every single war across the world over the past century.”
Others spoke to the renewed threat of a nuclear winter, long thought to have been avoided after the end of the Cold War. Alan Dale from MPAC warned the crowd the U.S. and NATO, “are trying to fight a war to the last Ukrainian, but they are playing a game that could easily get out of control, and could lead to a war for the last living human being or the last vestiges of society – a nuclear war.”
The final speaker, Coleen Rowley from Women Against Military Madness, echoed this dire warning. She pointed the finger directly at Senator Klobuchar and current U.S. National Security Advisor to the President, Jake Sullivan, a former Klobuchar staffer, as potential architects of WWIII, stating, “If Klobuchar thinks that she is gonna hide in a bunker and she is gonna be saved, she’s wrong. If nothing changes, ten, fifteen minutes is all we’re gonna get.”
The Minneapolis protest was initiated by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and endorsed by Antiwar Advocates of Minnesota Congressional District 2, Anti-War Committee, Climate Justice Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, Minnesota War Tax Resistance, Movement 4 People's Democracy, Party for Socialism and Liberation – Minneapolis, St. Joan of Arc WAMM/Peacemakers, Socialist Action, Socialist Party-USA Twin Cities Local, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace and others.