With the hammer and sickle flags of the former Soviet Union, thousands protested in Madrid on Sunday against a NATO summit to be held in the Spanish capital this week.
Amid tight security, leaders of the member states will meet in Madrid on June 29-30, as the organization faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
NATO is expected to consider the bid, which is opposed by ally Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.
The Nordic nations have applied in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation that he says is partly in response to NATO accession from other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.
“Tanks … yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang protesters, claiming that an increase in NATO-sponsored defense spending in Europe is a threat to peace.
“I’m fed up with this business of guns and killing people. The solution they propose is more guns and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us. only without wars and weapons, “Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.
Another protester, Jaled, 29, said NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.
Organizers claimed 5,000 people had joined the march, but authorities in Madrid set the number at 2,200.
Spain’s foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat to Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe. .
“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centered on the southern flank,” he told the El Pais newspaper.