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Week of actions against NATO in Sweden

Ofog | 30.05.2007 11:53 | Anti-militarism | Terror War | World

The 9th - 14th of May saw an intense week of actions against NATO Response Force in Göteborg, Sweden. NATO:s new response force NRF, was started on initiative of Donald Rumsfeld, and can be deployed within 5 days to, among other things, combat terrorists.
The response force held a huge naval exercise in the Baltic Sea at the end of May, and 37 ships stopped in Göteborg beforehand for preparations.

Noise demo
Noise demo

Rebel Mariners
Rebel Mariners

More Rebel Mariners
More Rebel Mariners

Banner drop
Banner drop

The Swedish antimilitarist network Ofog (means "mischief" in English) was there to meet them.
We started off one week earlier, before the police sealed off the harbour, by writing "Nuclear Attack Terror Organisation" with big letters on the ground, clearly visible from the main bridge over the harbour canal.

The next thing for our welcome committee was to put up a banner on the brigde on the 9th, when the ships came in, with the message "No NATO".

The following morning we reported the mastermind behind the response force, Mr Rumsfeld, for being responsible for torture and mistreatment of prisoners. We hope that the Swedish police will take swift measures against him.

We were a bit disappointed that we didn't manage to stop the ships from getting into the harbour, but on the Friday, our very special Rebel Mariner canoe, actually got in the way for a Norwegian submarine! Two people got picked up by the coastguard and detained a few hours by the police.

25 years ago 100 000 people marched against nuclear weapons in Göteborg, the biggest political manifestation in Swedish history. The city council then declared the city as a nuclear free zone, and incoming ships must guarantee that they don't carry any nuclear weapons. NATO didn't, cause the US policy is to do whatever they want and not be accountable for anyone. Anyway, the chair of the city council, Göran Johansson, is still the same guy as 25 years ago. About the NATO exercise, he told the media that he "would not even invite them for coffy", which is like not inviting them for tea for English people. The other representative for the city, the landshövding, did however invite them for coffee and dinner. Ofog, was of course there too, to make lots of noise!

Saturday showed that the opposition to nuclear weapons and militarism is still alive in Göteborg. 3000 people rallied against the exercise. Before the rally, 32 organisations and groups had signed a petition against the exercise.

The same day, we also had the annual long distance running competition, with 35 000 runners and lots of people watching. Someone had decorated the track (21 kilometres) with nice anti NATO stencils. There was also a huge banner the shopping center in central Göteborg for a short while.

But it was not over yet... Early Sunday morning, two Ofog activists paddled across the harbour canal and got almost right up to the ships. If you want to get in to a NATO exercise area yourself, get a dinghy here:,327.329/pid,1902/t/product.html
They are 1,85 meters long and are about 17 € each.
The two rebel mariners were inside the military zone, and might get charged for it. We haven't heard anything from the police about it yet (30th May).
See the action video:

The following night, just before NATO were about to leave the city, two swimmers got all the way in, had a chat with some drunk Estonian sailors and then got on-board a French ship. They were arrested by the Swedish military and handed over to the police.
The military was obviously really embarrassed by the incident, and initially told the press that they were caught 200 meters from the ship. The swimmers still haven't been charged with anything, but could get done for trespass (if the military isn't too embarrassed to take it to court).

So, that was an eventful week. We had very small resources and are not a big group, so we are really satisfied with the wide range of actions that took place. The way we did it was to organise an action training one week before, that we mobilised for. On the training, we encouraged people to form affinity groups and stay in touch with arrest and media coordinators. A lot of people who haven't been involved in this kind of direct action before took part, and we are hoping that this will kick off more creative actions in the future.


More photos from the actions:

DON'T MISS Ofog's action camp at the Bofors weapons manufacturer (a major contributor to US warfare in Iraq), 14th-19th June. More information:

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