Green MEPs held after anti-nuclear protest at Belgian military base

Activists protest in front of Kleine-Brogel military base near Peer in Belgium.

Three Green MEPs – including one from the UK – have been arrested after breaking into a Belgian military airbase to protest against its stockpiling of American B61 nuclear bombs.

The MEPs – Molly Scott Cato, Michèle Rivasi and Tilly Metz – unfurled a banner on a runway for F-16 fighter jets at the Kleine Brogel base in the east of the country calling for a nuclear-free Europe, before being taken into custody.

Another Green MEP, Thomas Waitz, was arrested in a demonstration outside the base, along with 11 other activists from the Belgian peace group Agir pour la Paix (Act for Peace), three of whom also scaled a 3.5-metre fence to get into the base.

The direct action protest follows the US withdrawal from the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty earlier this month.

About 150 US nuclear weapons are thought to be scattered across Europe in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, compared with more than 7,000 at the peak of the cold war.

But campaigners fear this number could rapidly rise in any new arms race, and say each B61 has an explosive yield of up to 340…

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