Dr Kate Hudson
CND General Secretary
Kate Hudson has been General Secretary of CND since September 2010. Prior to this she served as the organisation's Chair from 2003. She is a leading anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner nationally and internationally.
Written by Kate Hudson
On the eve of the NATO Summit in Lisbon, reports are coming in that peace activists are being prevented from entering Portugal. This morning, Portuguese border guards prevented 35 Finnish peace activists from entering the country. The coach that they were travelling on was organised by the Finnish Union of Conscientious Objectors.Just a few hours ago I heard that one of the German organisers of the counter-summit, organised by peace groups from across Europe – including CND – was refused entry on arrival in Lisbon and sent back home. On what grounds are peace campaigners being turned away?

The news is now being carried internationally with reports that at least 50 people have been turned away as Portugal has suspended the Schengen Treaty on free travel within most EU states. Whilst they say that this is to prevent violent anti-NATO protests, the reality is that peace campaigners are being turned away. They are being denied the right to peaceful protest.

The right to protest is part of the democratic fabric of our society – it has been hard won and will be defended. People have the right to oppose NATO. It is engaged in a murderous war in Afghanistan and costs vast amounts of money which would be better spent on meeting our genuine security and human needs – health, education, housing, employment, dealing with climate change.

This suppression of peaceful protest is a disgrace. It must be opposed and reversed. Our democratic rights must be defended.

UPDATE: As of Friday 19th – the first day of the NATO Summit – we have heard that 168 peace activists from France, Sweden, Finland and Spain have been prevented from entering Portugal.