German police clear blockade of nuclear weapons base

Büchel blockade – Marion Küpker photo

This year’s 20-week campaign of nonviolent action demanding withdrawal of the estimated 20 U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiled in Germany is underway.

Social and peace action groups from across Germany and overseas have taken on days or a week of responsibility for maintaining regular protest at the gates of Büchel Air base, where the weapons are kept. Büchel is Everywhere, organizers of the annual campaign, have established a peace encampment nearby that provides logistical support for each group of activists.

On June 28, more than 40 people representing the Stop Ramstein Campaign (a base implicated in U.S. drone warfare) arrived to blockade the main gate. Two smaller groups separated and walked to block the two other gates into Büchel.

The base was totally blocked for about two hours on the unseasonably hot Friday afternoon, preventing commuting personnel from leaving for the weekend. Police eventually carried demonstrators off the road and conducted ID checks before they were free to go.

Police cart off a Büchel blockader – photo by John LaForge

On Monday, June 24, Gerd Büntzly was fined following an appeal to 25 hours of daily wages. He had been convicted of trespass and property damage for cutting the fence and sitting-in atop a nuclear weapons bunker at Büchel air base in Germany in July 2017, with four American peace activists. The Americans have not been prosecuted despite presenting themselves in court with Büntzly. He chose to serve 10 days in jail in lieu of the fine.

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