Thousands are protesting against the NATO summit that is set to decide Finland and Sweden’s memberships.
Thousands of people protested in Madrid on Sunday, carrying the former Soviet Union’s hammer and sickle flags, against a NATO summit scheduled for next week in the Spanish capital.
Leaders of member countries will meet in Madrid on June 29-30, amid tight security, as the organization faces the unprecedented challenge of the war in Ukraine.
NATO is expected to consider Finland and Sweden’s membership bid, which is opposed by alliance member Turkey.
“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed that an increase in European defense spending advocated by NATO was a threat to peace.
“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.
Another protester, Jaled, 29, stated that NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine. The march was attended by 5,000 people, according to organizers, but authorities in Madrid put the figure at 2,200.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said: “Russia posed a threat to Europe.”
“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.