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News > France

Protests Intensify in Europe Amid Public Mistrust Against NATO

  • Anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., U.S. Feb. 19, 2023.

    Anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., U.S. Feb. 19, 2023. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 30 March 2023

"Why is the Western media ignoring the anti-NATO protests taking place in Paris?" asked a Lebanese geopolitical commentator named Sarah.

For months now, Europeans have been holding rallies to reject the North Atlantic Organization (NATO) and its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. On most occasions, however, the mainstream media are silent about the prevailing discontent.


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"Why is the Western media ignoring the anti-NATO protests taking place in Paris?" asked a Lebanese geopolitical commentator named Sarah on her Twitter account.


On March 18, the demonstration in Paris, dubbed the "March for Peace," began near the site of the Senate. Citizens 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.


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 Unsubmissive France, are both in favor of France's withdrawal from NATO.

For the leftist leader, 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", 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, said Pierre Conesa, a former senior official in the French Defense Ministry.

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." 

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