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    Three MEPs arrested after breaking into Belgian military base

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Three activists and three MEPs have been arrested after breaking into the Kleine-Brogel military base in Limburg to protest against the presence of nuclear bombs on the site. The three activists from the NGO Agir pour la Paix (Action for Peace) and the MEPs from the Greens/ALE group Michèle Rivasi (FRA), Molly Scott Cato (UK) and Tilly Metz (LUX) entered the military base as part of the Nuke-Free zone campaign. 

    The group blocked the F-16 runway and demanded the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Belgium and Europe, before being arrested. Eight other activists outside the base compound were also detained. A fourth MEP, Thomas Waitz (AUT), is reported to have been among those arrested outside the base.

    Their group had three demands: the withdrawal of US nuclear bombs stationed in Europe, the ratification of the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by all EU Member States and the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone for Europe, according to a press release by the Greens/EFA.

    “To date, no state or international organisation has the medical, human and logistical means that would manage the humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear detonation,” Agir pour la Paix said in a statement on Wednesday. “That is why it is essential for Belgium to set an example by joining gestures with words and concretely working towards nuclear disarmament,” it added.

    “Today, 15,000 nuclear weapons are still in circulation in the world and about twenty nukes are still present at the Kleine-Brogel military base,” said Rivasi. “However, the bombs stored in Belgium have an adjustable power ranging from 1Kt to 340 Kt, or up to 26 times the power of the bomb Hiroshima.  Yet everyone seems to have forgotten their presence and most importantly, their danger,” she added. 

    This incident is not the first time activists have visited the site. In 2012, 17 people crossed the fence, while in 2010 six others filmed on the scene. In June 2018, eight activists from the same organisation, including Ecolo Zoé Genot, had entered Kleine-Brogel.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times