Monday, March 31, 2008

The following is from the Polish anarchist news service Centrum Informacji Anarchistycznej which has an English language section. The comments to the article have been included because they supply important information. Stay tuned to Romania in the next few days for more news about eastern European protests as NATO holds its summit in Bucharest. The following has been slightly edited for spelling.
Peaceful Demo. in Poland Against US Missile Base Ends In Police Brutality

On Saturday March 29th over 700 people attended a protest at noon in the city of Slupsk, Northern Poland, against the Polish government's plans to permit the construction of a US missile base, part of their notorious 'Star Wars' program. On Friday and Saturday solidarity vigils were held with Polish activists in Prague, Dublin, London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Moscow, Washington and the U.S. spy base at Fylingdales in England.

The demonstration was organised by a wide range of Polish anarchist groups working together as the Polish Campaign Against Militarism. A variety of representatives from other political groups and anti-militarist campaigns attended the demonstration. The 'No Logo' guideline helped keep focus on participants opposition to the missile base and avoided a space which merely provided a marketing opportunity for political parties to promote themselves.

It was the first time a manifestation was held at the potential site for the U.S. government's missile defence program in Poland, where they intend to have 10 ground based interceptors costing billions of dollars. In return, the Polish government are requesting the U.S. help modernise the Polish army to the tune of $20 billion by 2015.

A recent poll conducted amongst residents of Slupsk city established that 60% of residents are against the proposed missile base and that 87% demand a referendum on the issue. The opposition level is similar throughout Poland. An agreement may be signed between both governments as early as June, construction would most likely occur from January 2009 and be completed by 2013.

Approximately 200 local residents listened and participated in a 'Hyde Park' public debate by the town hall while a 'No Missile Shield' newspaper was distributed outlining the arguments against the missile base and increased militarisation. The speakers included Australian Ciaron O'Reilly who has spent over 2 years in U.S., Australian and Irish jails fighting for peace and justice by nonviolently disabling military equipment. A large majority of locals who spoke from the platform and were in attendance were opposed to the missile shield.

The Food Not Bombs group kept participants strong and healthy with delicious vegetarian food.

Two excellent samba bands from Gdansk and Poznan and a street theatre group from Torun and Slupsk led the demonstrators through the streets after the public discussion has concluded. Placards had slogans including, 'We don't want to be a missile shield for the U.S.', 'No Shield, No War, We are for Peace', while participants chanted and danced around the city centre. It attracted a lot of attention and many local residents, both young and old, joined in.

At the end of the demonstration 100 people marched 4km from Slupsk to the ex-soviet military base next to the town of Redzikowo and likely site for U.S. weapons. Riot police blocked participants entrance and forced them from the area, which is currently a disused Polish military property undergoing.

The demonstration finished in Redzikowo town at 4.30pm where demonstrators had positive interactions with local residents, despite the bad weather. The reception we received bodes well for future co-operation. Appeals were made at a military barracks for Polish soldiers to stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and to resist defending the violent interests of the rich and powerful arms companies and politicians against their peaceful fellow citizens.
Police repression and revenge against activists
At 6am, on Sunday morning after the demonstration, police violently broke their way into an apartment in Slupsk, arresting 23 anti-missile defence activists under the pretext that they were disturbing the 'night silence'. They used tear gas and batons, forcing their way into the apartment and beating the 18-25 year old peace activists staying there. One person had his arm broken.

By noon on Sunday, 30 protesters had gathered outside the police station where the anti-militarist activists were being detained. The police are accusing some of the arrested of unethical force against a police officer and disturbing the peace. It remains to be seen whether the injured activists will bring charges against the police officers for their brutal revenge on those opposed to the U.S. missile base. Those present at the apartment during the police assault have stated that the police version of events is not true.

At 8pm Sunday 13 remained in police custody. They are due to be released by 3pm tomorrow. activists are due to be released.

Funds to support the repressed activists and the Campaign Against Militarism would be gratefully appreciated. If you want to donate to support the efforts to stop the construction of the missile base in Poland you can do so by transferring your donation to this account:
Jakub Gawlikowski
(PL) 05 1140 2004 0000 3702 4238 2269
BRE Bank S.A. Retail Banking, al. Mickiewicza 10, 90-050 Łódź
SORT CODE: 11402004
Very important:
Write "Against the Missile Shield" for general campaign support.
Write "For Repressed Activists" to support those currently arrested.
Videos of demonstration:
Polish Campaign Against Militarism
English Contacts: 0048607340093or 0048662535719

This is another article with new information about arrested people. Laure's article has slightly different numbers of participants, but people always count differently. :-) Also here are links to videos:

Protest Against Proposed US Missile Base in Poland: Good public support, politicians and police against the people.
On Saturday, March 29, about 800-1000 people demonstrated against the installation of a US missile base in northern Poland. The base, which the governments of the US and Poland would like to build in Redzikowo, just outside of Slupsk near the Baltic Sea, would house elements of the American Missile Defense program, namely so-called interceptor missiles (which can also be used for offensive purposes. Despite the fact that 60% of local residents and over half of all Poles are strongly against the base, and only a small fraction of the rest support it, the government is intent to go ahead and build the base. A radar base is also to be built in the Czech Republic, again despite the opposition of most citizens.
The Demo
The demonstration started with a Hyde Park / open meeting in front of the town hall. A few hundred local residents came to hear the arguments against the missiles, to demonstrate and to speak out. Many people spoke only the meeting had to be cut slightly short due to an impending downpour of rain. The only person who spoke in favour of the base was a paid lobbyist, Andrzej Jodkowski who was hired by the American Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance to make pro-missile propaganda in Poland. He was loudly jeered by the crowd and some old ladies tried to beat him with sticks. People of all ages came out but it was quite noticeable from both this demonstration and a meeting the day before that survivors of WWII are especially angry about the base and concerned about militarism and a few elderly people in their 70s and 80s spoke out.

During the Hyde Park, free food was served by Food Not Bombs and some theatre was made by the Autonomist Collective and Anarchist Federation group from Torun.

A lively demo followed through the city. Slupsk is a city of under 100,000 people which very few activists and the only other such demonstration held there since the fall of communism was a May Day march organized by the Anarchist Federation in 2002. It was quite a sight for local people, many who watched or joined in. Two nice samba bands played, a car went with music, people chanted “No Missile Shield” and lots of other slogans that don’t rhyme in English translation.
At the Base
After the main demo ended, a group of a bit over 100 people broke off and marched to Redzikowo, the site of the future American base, a former Polish airforce base during the PRL times, currently disused but still guarded by the military. The police and military started to show their strength, sending out a military helicopter and lots of police vans. (Police had to be sent in from Gdansk for this action. Although Slupsk is home of a police academy and has an extremely large police presence, they were not available as many of them had been sent to Kosowo.)

A small action was made at the side entrance and some people removed the ridiculous barricade made there and went on the territory, at which time the police started to act. However nothing happened since the police claimed to demonstrators that there was “nothing there” and “no base there” and therefore could not give a legitimate reason to the anarchists why they were not allowed on that area. They threatened to arrest people for not following police orders but not for trespassing.

The demonstration moved to the main gate of the base where there was some symbolic attempt to jump the fence. Some local residents came out to talk despite the fact that the large police presence and the cops with dogs could look a little scary. Again local residents, despite the fact that many of them were relatives of former military, complained about the base to the protesters. Mr. Jodkowski the lobbyist, who followed us during the whole march, could only walk around sheepishly trying to give the demonstrators cookies.
Unpleasant Actions and Police Violence
The whole action went without incident, accept perhaps not including problems with vanguardist frauds from the Young Socialists who openly disregard requests not to come with self-advertising, party flags. (They are known throughout Poland as being sleazy party-sponsored parasites who fraudulently present themselves as organizers of other people’s demonstrations.) However as soon as people left Redzikowo and dispersed, the cops took the opportunity to vent their frustration on some scapegoats.

For whatever reason, a small group of people stayed in Redzikowo. Police used dogs against them and one woman was bitten. They started to give people bullshit fines. One guy was fined for having a black flag on his car. Later, one guy was arrested and fined for cursing. The fine was almost 300 dollars US, really an incredible exaggeration for something like that which in no way should be a punishable offense.

The real problem happened lately on, in the early hours of the morning just before 5 AM. There was a concert/ after party. A group of people were followed from the party by the police. They returned to one guy’s place, where a group of people were already sleeping. Shortly later the police raided and attacked them, including people who were sleeping. The pretext was “disturbing the peace” although clearly sleeping people were not disturbing the peace. People were gassed and beaten. 23 people were arrested. One guy had his arm badly hurt – in fact he was sure it was broken. (It turns out not to be broken but just badly hurt.) The police also thought his arm was broken and he was taken to the hospital. He escaped and called people to tell them what happened.

The police at first denied that anything happened or that anybody was arrested but later changed their story (more than once). Few people were left in town, but those who were went down to the police station to demand the release of the arrested. The police are claiming that this brutal attack has nothing to do with the demo but present the arrested as being drunk and disorderly. They are charged with typical bullshit charges of “not respecting the police” and two are being charged with “violating the untouchability of the police”, which is more or less assaulting an officer. This charge is used against demonstrators quite often, usually in situations where the police is beating somebody and they try to ward off blows or get the police off them.

As of the time of this report, all but two of the arrested have been released, 8 of them being charged with “not respecting the police”. (The two still in custody will probably have the more serious charges against them.) They are going to file a complaint against the police.

Anarchist Solidarity and Anarchist Black Cross will try to help them: for more information or to send a donation for legal help, contact
The Struggle will Continue
The event was covered widely by local, national and some international press, although the American media refused to cover the event. Perhaps the action was not big and “spectacular” enough, but surely that’s not the only reason. No worry though; if they go ahead with the base, which looks to be a strong possibility, this will just be the beginning. The next demo will be much bigger and louder.

The demonstration was organized by the Campaign against Militarism (started by anarchists but open to others) together with big participation others like the Anarchist Federation, the Autonomous Collective, some local, non-affiliated activists, some members of Greenpeace and the Union of Syndicalists. Practically all of the anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups in Poland were in attendance as well as some anti-war activists and a small handful of leftists from different groups and parties. A good part of the crowd was also made up of Slupsk residents. Probably this was the largest and most successful action we have made in a couple of years and undoubtedly the most important action against this military base that has happened so far in Poland. Despite the fact that most people are against the base, few people publicly demonstrate their discontent. Unfortunately. The Campaign has decided to continue its work and, should the work on the base be started, to organize more radical protests and actions.

The campaign can be reached at
The website for the action includes lots of info in English about the missile bases:
Also see:
There are many press reports in Polish as well as photo reports. Here are a few links to photo and video:,80708,5068992.html (Main newspaper in Poland, video from TV) (Voice of Pomerania, videos, article. First video (multimedia) has English with speaker from Catholic Worker. Second, talking head in Polish, third has part of march.)

Legal update: all are free

Legal update: all are free now.

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