Thousands of Spanish citizens protested against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Madrid on the eve of the summit.
The demonstration, which took place on Sunday in the Spanish capital, Madrid, was organized by left-wing parties and organizations. Demonstrators chanted “No to war, no to war” and said “no” to NATO.
This protest rally is practically a counter-movement. Since the beginning of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, NATO’s image in European public opinion has greatly improved; Germany’s military budget has risen sharply, with traditionally neutral countries such as Finland and Sweden submitting applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Critics of the trend say the European environment has been heavily militarized since February.
Leaders of the 30 NATO member states are scheduled to meet in the Spanish capital, Madrid, on June 29 and 30.
The Spanish protesters held placards reading “No to war,” “No to NATO,” and “Build schools and hospitals instead of military spending.”
Demonstrators in Madrid also called for peace talks to end the war in Ukraine. Opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin, they argued that NATO was not the answer to the war in Ukraine.
Protest organizers in Madrid on Sunday said about 30,000 people had taken part in the protest, but police said the number was only 2,200.
According to a poll, 30 percent of left-leaning Spaniards oppose NATO expansion because it “helps to escalate the conflict.”
Spain’s radical left has traditionally opposed NATO. During the Cold War and the existence of the Soviet Union, they saw NATO as the iron fist of “American imperialism.” Even now, some leftists believe that NATO is a tool to advance US policy.
Demonstrations are taking place in Madrid on Sunday, with left-wing parties in Spain’s coalition government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.