Czech anti-war campaigners have launched the ‘Tanks? No thanks!’ campaign to protest the procession of US Army hardware through the Eastern European country. They say it has been turned into a “provocative victory parade” near the Russian border.
The exercise, entitled the ‘Dragoon Ride,’ will involve over a hundred Stryker vehicles, which the US is expected to station in Europe, and will see the convoy stop in a new city every night.
Pressenza report: The Nato exercises, led by the US have taken place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and are due to be extended to Romania and Bulgaria over the coming weeks.
As the Baltic exercises come to an end the hardware will be transported to the Vilseck base in Germany and in order to get there, the quickest route from Poland is via the Czech Republic.
Last week, the Czech government authorised the passage of the military equipment through the country without any debate in parliament. The procession is due to take place between the 29th of March and the 1st of April.
Campaigners are horrified as the military movement has been turned more into a “victory parade” than a return of troops to their home base. You can drive easily from Poland to Germany in 6 hours.
“For some reason the authorities have decided that the convoy of 118 stryker vehicles and 516 personnel have to divide into three parts in Poland, they have to spend two nights on Czech territory, sleeping in 4 cities, and organise activities to impress local residents with their military power,” said Táňa Bednářová from the organisation World without Wars which is also promoting the campaign. “The last time that vehicles like this came to the Czech Republic, they were Soviet tanks coming to crush moves towards democracy in 1968. We don’t want such vehicles from foreign armies coming here ever again!”
The campaign “Tanks? No thanks!” has been started on Facebook and is informing the Czech population about the reasons why such ostentatious displays of military might are not helpful in reducing tensions with Europe’s largest neighbour.