ER Editor: See this that we put out on the Czech situation over the weekend –
Lucas Leiroz mentions below recent protests in Kassel, Germany that we hadn’t covered. Here are some tweets on the subject:
🇩🇪 Hundreds of German citizens took to the streets of German cities to protest against the delivery of arms to Ukraine. In Kassel, they blocked the entrance to the arms factory of the Rheinmetall corporation. The police were forced to use batons and tear gas against them. pic.twitter.com/SYT17sDzzh
— Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil (@ivan_8848) September 3, 2022
— Phil Jones (@Roundabout_Phil) September 4, 2022
‘100 billion for arms [for Ukraine] ’ It was restless last weekend in Germany. Protesters staged a demonstration against rising energy prices & arms supplies to Uktaine.
700 anti-fascist activists demonstrated in the streets of Kassel in favour of disarmament & against NATO. pic.twitter.com/Ohn3EuHecs
— Lucy Gatsby (@LucyGatsby) September 5, 2022
🇩🇪Demonstration against the military industry and NATO – September 3, people took to the streets of the city of Kassel to support disarmament and protest against NATO. The demonstrators denounced the activities of Rheinmetall, the main German arms manufacturer pic.twitter.com/mQjG2FgDNQ
— 𝚁𝙰𝙶𝙴 𝙰𝙶𝙰𝙸𝙽𝚂𝚃 𝚃𝙷𝙴 𝚅𝙰𝙲𝙲𝙸𝙽𝙴 (@72powpow) September 4, 2022
Anti-NATO protests in Europe likely to increase
The consequences of the anti-Russian sanctions are causing revolt and indignation among European citizens.
In recent days, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Prague demanding an end to the coercive measures against Russia. Similar situations have been also seen in other important cities of Europe. Intelligence agencies already predict that the situation will worsen in the near future, with serious risks of an escalation in internal tensions in European countries. Indeed, these facts make it clear that the European people absolutely reject the interventionist ambitions of the EU and NATO.
On the 3rd of September, one of the biggest mass protests in recent years was seen in the streets of Prague. Current problems such as rising gas prices and security crises have taken thousands of Czech citizens to the streets in protests against the EU and NATO. Official Czech government sources claim 70,000 people attended the demonstrations, but protest organizers say the actual number of participants exceeded 100,000.
Members of different political ideologies and different social movements participated in the event. Nationalists, conservatives, social reformers, leftists, and moderate liberals have united in the common cause of combating negative foreign influence on the Czech government, which is leading the country to adopt an anti-Russian international policy that greatly harms the interests of the population. Not by chance, the slogan of the protesters was “Czech Republic First”, which succinctly expresses the popular and patriotic urges of the activists.
As expected, the main demand was that the Prime Minister Petr Fiala coalition impose limits on the price of gas as a way of controlling the worsening of the energy crisis. Some groups involved have openly called for a circumvention of EU policies, so that Prague could negotiate directly with Moscow for energy supplies. In fact, some groups seemed to hold more moderate opinions and others more radical; however, all converged on the need for the Czech Republic to maintain an independent foreign policy that prioritizes national interests, instead of simply adhering to sanctions packages planned by think tanks in Brussels, London and Washington.
A common cause for all participants was the demand for absolute military neutrality, which is an extremely important issue considering that the Czech government was the first to violate NATO’s self-imposed rule of not taking direct action in the Ukrainian conflict. In April, before all other countries in the Western alliance, Prague sent a wide range of war equipment to Ukraine, mainly tanks and other armored vehicles. Until then, the West was only sending financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but Prague started an unlimited military escalation, which has resulted in the prolongation of the conflict with the sending of Western weapons.
In an official statement, Fiala said citizens have the right to protest, but arrogantly asserted that the Czech people are being manipulated by pro-Russian forces. The head of government simply ignored the wishes of the people he was chosen to represent, which is a very problematic issue and reveals a serious status of democracy crisis in the country. No action was announced after the protests, with Prague continuing to suffer all the consequences of anti-Russian sanctions.
Prague, however, was not the only place to witness popular revolt against Western interventionism. In Germany, the day before, violent protests took place in some cities, most notably in Kassel, where 200 protesters faced heavy police brutality as they protested against the supply of weapons to Kiev. Eight protesters were arrested after violent clashes. Also, it is necessary to remember that similar situations had already occurred in many regions of Europe in recent months. In Madrid, the June NATO summit was responded to with large protests by the Spanish population, for example. And, according to the German intelligence, this situation of popular indignation will only get worse and worse.
Sources from security departments in Germany allege that the country is close to facing violent protests. German intelligence seems to have obtained privileged information that different parties would be coming together exceptionally in order to demand solutions to the energy crisis. The mass protests would be being organized by absolutely antagonistic groups, such as Die Linke and AfD, and would still be receiving support from more moderate organizations, such as the CDU’s Christian Democrats.
The German situation reflects the same scenario seen in Spain and the Czech Republic: antagonistic ideologies and parties are ignoring their rivalries and uniting for a common cause. In practice, this tends to make the protests really massive and strong, attracting citizens from all ideological affiliations.
“So what we saw during the coronavirus pandemic might look like a children’s party in comparison to what is to come”, a German intelligence officer commented during an interview to Die Welt about the protests to come.
For all European countries, the question is the same: abandon the sanctions or face social chaos. The coercive measures against Moscow do not benefit European citizens and do not influence the military scenario in Ukraine, so they simply have no reason to exist.
Either European countries adopt a sovereign stance and prioritize their own interests in foreign policy, or the bloc will suffer irreversible damage in its social structures.
Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
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