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Romania: Police actions against anti-NATO protests in Bucharest
01 April 2008
On 2 April, hundreds of police raided the convergence centre of the anti-NATO gathering in Bucharest and arrested an estimated 46 people. All the arrests were made inside the convergence centre, no demonstration was taking place at the time. Many police reportedly wore ski masks and were hostile to journalists trying to access the scene. Romanian media did not report any violence during arrests, Indymedia however reports severe beatings by police. The repression against political activists was already stepped up a few days ago, with police arresting and detaining people arbitrarily. Once detained, the police appear to construct "offences", such as interpreting the carrying of a pocket-knife as arms possessions. People coming to or leaving the convergence centre, set up for demonstrators from Romania and other parts of the world, were also arbitrarily detained. The detained are interrogated, photographed and fingerprinted in police stations, and held for up to 24 hours. At the Romanian border several groups of activists have been denied entry into the country.
Protests are directed in particular against NATO's ongoing expansion to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas formerly not within NATO's mandate. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft, thereby violating a UN-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it led an 11-week bombing campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A formal declaration of war never took place. After 11 September 2001, NATO confirmed that the terrorist attacks were an attack against the entire group of members. On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which was the first time in NATO's history to take charge of a mission outside of the north Atlantic area.
Indymedia report in English: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/02/18490151.php
Indymedia report in German: http://de.indymedia.org/2008/04/212209.shtml
English summary: http://gipfelsoli.org/Home/Bukarest_2008/4906.html
Background information on the protests against the NATO summit in Bucharest and protests against it: http://www.wombles.org.uk/article2007111364.php