World Insights: Protests intensify in Europe amid mounting political, public mistrust against NATO-Xinhua

World Insights: Protests intensify in Europe amid mounting political, public mistrust against NATO

Source: Xinhua| 2023-03-30 18:25:45|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- "Why is the Western media ignoring the anti-NATO protests happening today in Paris, France?" asked an independent Lebanese geopolitical commentator named Sarah on her Twitter account, referring to the March 18 demonstration in which thousands of French people took part calling for the exit of France from NATO.

This rally in the French capital is the latest demonstration of the mistrust towards the military alliance of the Europeans who no longer want it.


The demonstration in Paris, dubbed the "March for Peace," began near the site of the French Senate.

The demonstrators held banners reading: "Stop the war provoked by the United States and NATO," "Freedom, Truth, Resistance" and "The vote of no confidence is peace in France."

Similar protests have recently taken place in several other European countries. In Berlin, around 10,000 demonstrators gathered on Feb. 25 against the supply of arms to Ukraine. "Not our war," read a banner at the rally. The protesters were distributing leaflets calling for an immediate pullout of Germany from NATO.

On the same day in London, about 4,000 people joined a march demanding an end to the shipment of additional weapons to Kiev. "No to NATO expansion," read the placards. "The United States is manipulating the world for its own interests," said Talia, a protester who only gave her first name.

In recent years, opposition to and mistrust against NATO have intensified in Europe, sparking criticism from European politicians and academics, and triggering more anti-NATO protests.


European politicians who raised doubts about the bloc condone the protests.

France's NATO membership was a heated topic during last year's presidential campaign. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally party, and Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the party La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France), are both in favor of France's withdrawal from NATO, including its integrated command.

"We must get out of NATO, a useless organization that President (Emmanuel) Macron said was brain dead," Melenchon said.

For him, the military alliance founded in 1949 provokes tensions everywhere with its agitation, hoping to benefit here and there from some agencies.

Florian Philippot, leader of the Patriots, a French right-wing party and organizer of several rallies in Paris for peace and the dissolution of the Atlantic alliance, took the stage at one of the recent protests and used scissors to cut NATO's blue flag in half. "NATO is war," he said.


This position is also increasingly evident in European public opinion. In an analysis titled "NATO as seen by French presidential candidates" published at the end of March 2022, the Montaigne Institute said that French public support for NATO has declined in recent years.

"Positive views of NATO have been steadily declining since 2009, when France joined its integrated military command. Seventy-one percent of French people were in favor of the alliance in 2009, compared to only 50 percent in 2020," the analysis read.

The attempt to expand the alliance to include Ukraine is at the root of the current Ukraine crisis, Pierre Conesa, a former senior official in the French Defense Ministry, told Xinhua in an interview.

For Antonio Ingroia, one of the founders of the Sovereign and Popular Italy party, "the majority of Italians do not want this war, do not want to be a colony of the United States and NATO."