Update: 190 Inspectors arrested at NATO headquarters
PRESS CONTACT 0495-28 02 59 (Pol D'Huyvetter)
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Brussels, May 28 1999 - Yesterday in the late afternoon a confirmed total of 190 Citizens Inspectors were arrested at NATO headquarters in Brussels. 60 of them were tranported with police vans a short while later to the peace camp in the center of Brussels. A spokesperson for For Mother Earth who organised this inspection suspected the reason to be that the police didn't have enough room to keep everybody. 130 others were held in custody and released between 22:00 and 24:00.
The arrests followed the refusal by NATO to hand over information about NATO's Nuclear Planning Group. The inspectors demand the immediate release of data about NATO's nuclear force. They especially want to know the sites, numbers, types, yields and targets. The inspectors want to hand over this information to Members of Parliament, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court which is being established in The Hague. The inspectors demand that NATO release the information immediately, preferably through their internet site.
Ronald De Vos, a Belgian inspector was succesful in entering one of the NATO buildings. "Immediately after passing through the entrance I was knocked down without any warning, and lost consciousness". NATO security however apologized afterwards. If NATO does not release tthe controversial data, citizens inspectors will continue to make new attemtps to enter the buildings to find the compromising information.
Further a diplomatic incident occured when the Brussels police stopped another group of over 100 Citizens Inspectors from going to an official reception at the European Parliament which was hosted by Magda Aelvoet, President of the Green Group in the EP.
The citizens inspectors welcome the indictement of President Milosevic yesterday in The Hague. They however believe that also NATO has to be brought to court for the preparation of crimes against humanity.
The inspectors have also an ongoing dialogue with Brussels security forces. "Brussels and Belgrade are the only two places in Europe where demonstrations against the war are being officially prohibited by authorities. We however invite the Brussels police-force to uphold international law. Referring to the 1946 Nuremberg Principles, we invite the security forces to cooperate and help us to get the information of the Nuclear Planning Group" declares For Mother Earth spokesperson Pol D'Huyvetter.
This international team of Citizen Inspectors is the final action of a 500 person peace march from the International Court of Justice in The Hague which ended at NATO at midday yesterday. NATO press officer Nick Fiorenza and legal adviser Baldwin De Vidts refused to release information regarding NATO's nuclear arsenal. The Citizen Inspectors demanded transparency about NATO nukes.
The peace camp stays until noon Sunday at the Katholieke Hogeschool in the Nieuwlandstraat 198, 1000 Brussels (near Brussels South railway station).
The action has received the support of Abolition 2000, an international network of over 1300 NGO's working to eliminate all nuclear weapons. For the inspection there is close cooperation with IALANA (International Association of Lawyers Agianist Nuclear Arms).
Letter to Solana http://www.motherearth.org/walk99/tonato.htm
Audiovisual footage available from the walk
During the walk, the mobile media unit will be providing continuous coverage via video clips, stills and digital images. These are available upon request. The audio-visual website will carry highlights of the footage, which is located at: http://www.motherearth.org/walk99/pics
For updates and more information contact:
For Mother Earth http://www.motherearth.org/
Press Briefings on Internet & on location:
Regular press briefings and photo images can be located at http://www.motherearth.org/walk99/press.htm
Pol D´Huyvetter and Krista Van Velzen Audio-visual media contact: Ville Aho
GSM 0495-28 02 59 (in Belgium)
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