What may be the largest occupation of a European nuclear weapons base occurred Monday, April 16, when about 850 activists were subject to "administrative arrest" after swarming onto the runway during the latest citizen weapons inspection at Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium.
Just after lunch, a colorful and noisy procession made its way from the namesake village to "spotter's corner" at the end of the runway. Although authorities reportedly prepared for the protest, only 30 soldiers were present in the area. A large section of the fence was quickly removed, and hundreds of activists streamed on to the base. Overwhelmed police managed to arrest and handcuff about 150 people before they reached the runway, although many of those released themselves from the cuffs and rejoined hundreds more to take control of the runway.
Jubilant and defiant, activists chanted "We are in, the bombs must go out!" as police brought in more troops and buses. With the help of horses and dogs trained to intimidate, and pain-compliance holds, police took over two hours to walk, pull, or drag away the protesters on the runway. The last activists were released from overcrowded holding areas before midnight.
For more information, contact For Mother Earth, Maria Hendrickaplein 5, 9000 Gent, Belgium +32 9 242 87 52, email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.motherearth.org.