Protesters attacked at Bucharest NATO summit

Some 40 activists marched against the NATO summit in Bucharest April 3, beating on drums and chanting “Stop the war, stop NATO” and “NATO out of Bucharest.” In a pre-emptive strike before the march, Romanian security forces broke into a factory that had been rented by the protesters as a Convergence Center, detaining 46 for “identity checks.” Eight others were picked up off the street and brought to police precincts. (Gipfelsoli Infogruppe, Germany, April 3) The city remains occupied by some 30,000 special police, military troops and intelligence officers. A “code yellow” security alert has been declared, with all protests forbidden. (Balkan Decentralized Network, April 3) A solidarity protest demanding release of the detained was held at the Romanian embassy in Berlin (IMC Deutschland, April 3)

Some 50 marched against the summit in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. (Balkan Decentralized Network, April 3) The following day, when President Bush arrived in Croatia, he was met with more anti-NATO protesters in Zagreb—who marched in defiance of a government ban. (H-Alter, Balkan Insight, April 4)

NATO leaders in Bucharest agreed to invite Croatia and Albania to join the alliance, but Macedonia’s entry was blocked by Greece in the ongoing dispute over Macedonia’s name. Opposition leaders in Croatia are demanding a pubic referendum be held before the country joins the alliance. (Reuters, April 3; AKI, Italy, April 3)

See our last posts on the Balkans.

  1. Ban in Croatia
    Green Action, Documenta, and Center for Peace Studies applied for protest permit at the popular “Flower Square” in downtown Zagreb. Initially the minister of interior, Roncevic, refused to grant the permit. But prime minister Sanader called from Bucharest to over-ride his ban! Maybe his US handlers advised wisely that it is better to have people dissatisfied with Bush safely corraled in a square than wondering around the street? Still, Bandic, the mayor of Zagreb, kept the ban on certain aspects of the protest: protesters were not allowed to use a sound system, and they were not allowed to set up the big screen to show a movie about Bush.