United We Can limits its representation in the protest to Enrique Santiago, leader of the PCE and Secretary of State, and a handful of second-level positions | The march, central act of the counter-summit, is far from being a historic protest on the eve of the Atlantic event
The cry of “NATO, no. Bases, out »and only mobilizes a few classics. 40 years after the great protests against Spain’s entry into the Alliance, the center of Madrid once again hosts an anti-militarist march this Sunday. But the demonstration of the state platform ‘NATO no’, the central act of the counter-summit, is far from being massive. According to the Government Delegation, only 2,200 people are supporting the march.
Podemos’s decision not to mobilize its bases so as not to further tighten the rope with the PSOE has deprived the protest of a large part of its potential muscle, leaving the United Left as the only political engine of this demonstration, which has also not had the support of the big unions, which are the ones that always have the greatest capacity for mobilization.
With these wickers, the call, far from collapsing the heart of the capital of Spain as the ten smaller calling associations intended, is only bringing together a few thousand people around the Atocha station in this protest in which the antimilitarists they wanted to show off muscle two days before the Atlantic summit begins in Madrid, where the leaders of the 30 NATO countries and their main allies will meet between June 28 and 30. The crowd does not fill the central lanes of the Paseo del Prado, where there are many free square meters between the scattered protesters. A lot of visible asphalt in Cibeles and Gran Vía.
Despite the tepid citizen response to the anti-NATO march, the security deployment is impressive, more in keeping with a high-risk Champions League final than a peaceful protest in which the middle age is approaching retirement. Hundreds of agents from the Police Intervention Units (UIP, anti-riot) monitor the march that runs through the center of the capital and will end in the Plaza de España.
In part, the large police operation is due to the fact that a few meters from the anti-militarist demonstration, the ‘March in Defense of Life and Truth’ is taking place simultaneously, with a profile of participants totally opposed to the anti-NATO, and in which several thousand people also participate.
The presence in the anti-NATO demonstration of the colors and initials of the United Left (IU), the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the anarchist organizations, the three historic groups against the Alliance, is present on banners and posters, among those who do not see the logos of Podemos, which, as promised, is having a very low profile in this demonstration that is not attended by any of its ministers or front-rank positions.
Secretary of state
Yes, a good part of the federal leadership of the IU and leaders of the formation are present, such as the Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda and leader of the PCE, Enrique Santiago, the federal spokesperson, Sira Rego, the deputies in Congress Miguel Ángel Bustamante and Roser Maestro and MEP Manu Pineda. Minister Alberto Garzón, a member of the PCE, and whose presence at the demonstration was one of the main unknowns, has not been seen, at least for the moment. Santiago, therefore, is the highest level member of the Executive that participates in this protest against a summit personally promoted by President Pedro Sánchez.
All the symbols are reminiscent of the 70s and 80s. The red flags with the hammer and sickle and the Republican tricolor banners are mixed with raised fists and the already historic slogans of the pacifist banners of the last century: «Oil feeds the wars”, “wars are always lost by peoples” or “what kills does not protect life”. That yes, the rainbow flags of pride and posters such as “Neither Putin nor NATO”, seem to rejuvenate a demonstration where the sexagenarians who in 1982 led those mobilizations against the adhesion of Spain to the treaty and who now proudly show their banners of Yayos flutes Madrid, we fight and we will fight.
Among the slogans there are also criticisms of the two formations of the Government for the tragedy of the Melilla fence, for which they blame the Executive for its agreements with Rabat. Slogans like “The progressive government kills blacks in Melilla” or “What are Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz doing? They kill workers in Melilla» have been heard.
The march, which passes without incident, is led by three banners: ‘No war, no NATO and for peace’. ‘No to militaristic budgets. We do not pay for your wars’ and ‘Bases out’.
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