REPRESSIVE RESPONSE AGAINST ANTI-MILITARIST MOC ACTIVISTS FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
UP TO 12.000 EUROS FINE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF SEVERAL YEARS JAIL SENTENCE FOR BLOCKADE IN THE PORT OF SAGUNTO AGAINST NATO MANEUVERS.
The group of antimilitarists that paralyzed the transport of armoured vehicles to the NATO “Trident Juncture“ manoeuvres last October face accusations of “serious disobedience”, “breach of the peace”, and fines for “intrusion“.
On October 16, 2015 six Antimilitaristes-MOC activists entered the esplanade of the Port of Sagunto, where transportation of military vehicles to the principal site of the NATO manoeuvres, “Trident Juncture“, was being prepared. Trident Juncture is the most important Alliance war training of the last ten years. In spite of the fact that they were wearing white overalls, pink reflective vests and carrying banners with the words “WAR STOPS HERE” and “SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE: OBSTRUCTING WAR PREPARATIONS”, and accompanied by two journalists, the presence of the group went unnoticed by security forces for the few minutes needed to identify the most ostentatious military vehicles among the dozens stationed there: the Danish army Leopard 2E tanks, set to be transported to the field of manoeuvres in Chinchilla (Albacete).
It took only a few minutes for four activists to fix lock-on tubes inside the chains of two of the tanks, which could only be liberated after the intervention four hours later by two units of the Civil Guard Rural Safety Group, using a radial saw which rendered useless the three metallic tubes. The journalists had already been forced to leave the area without being able to cover the story in its entirety due to threats of legal action against them. The group of 6 activists were detained and taken to Civil Guard premises in Puçol, where they remained for almost four hours before being released with charges.
In spite of there being no damages incurred or danger in the action, four activists received Breach of the Peace and Disobedience charges – the recent reform of the Penal code has modified punishment for protest actions of this type, making it a possibility that if found guilty they could receive prison sentences of up to four years and fines of several thousand euros. This repressive action against the group of antimilitarists was strengthened a few weeks later when an administrative procedure was opened by the Government Delegation that imposes four serious infractions on them in accordance with the Law of Civil Security for “intrusion in facilities which lend basic services to the community when serious interference is caused in its functioning”. For this infraction, the Government Delegation has imposed four fines of 601 euros on the activists , sanctions that have been stayed awaiting the outcome of the penal process.
Added to this, the Civil Guard report on which this repressive action is based, opens the door to accusations for possible damages for “public diffusion of messages that incite the commission of crimes of alteration of public order”, or the imputation of three journalists who covered the action. The report affirms that the group of antimilitarists had entered the enclosure “after breaking several blocks of concrete in the perimetral all[. . .] using a mace or similar tool”, without any presentation of proof, and that “the activists were well organised, each having a particular function: [. . . ] three of them recorded and photographed the incident [. . . ] publishing it some hours later on the Internet page of the movement MOC Valencia”.
For the time being, none of these affirmations have resulted in major repressive action, and the four activists are at present awaiting a subpoena to give evidence in the Court of Instruction number 1 in Sagunto.
Call for support
The repressive response to this non-violent action might be the first application in all its weight of the “gag laws” (Reform of Penal Code and of Citizen Safety Law) against a conscious action of civil disobedience since they came into force in mid 2015, (strongly opposed by large, diverse sectors of society). Antimilitaristes-MOC are calling on this sector for support in order to face this repressive state action, (administrative repression and economic repression), and in order to continue to be able to use non-violent means of civil disobedience. One of main targets of the action was to break with the silence and the pessimism that led to the cooling of social protest last year while the new laws that criminalize the activism of social movements were being put in place, Also to make it clear that civil disobedience, is not only a valid instrument against these “gag laws”, but also a legitimate tool of radically democratic political participation.
The antimilitarist group calls on the solidarity of the social majority that is against war and war preparations – a social majority which is given voice through this action.
The day of the blockade ,“we wanted to detain the flow of material and personnel to these war games but also make visible the contrast on the one hand between the terrible situation of the refugees from wars, who seek protection and encounter fences, razor-wire and death at sea, and on the other hand the absolute freedom of movement of executors of wars and armaments, especially during these military exercises”.
For the anti-militarist collective, “actions such as this help to construct a culture of peace based on cooperation, justice and non-violence, rather than dissuasion or force”. “It is necessary to change the paradigm of defence and to move away from a military concept of safety, which leads us repeatedly to war and violence, towards ‘human safety’ as it is defined by the UN, which places at the centre the defence of rights of people and nature”.
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