About eight-thousand demonstrators gathered outside Copenhagen's Bella Centre late on Thursday (14 June). But their?
About eight-thousand demonstrators gathered outside Copenhagen's Bella Centre late on Thursday (14 June). But their protests went unheard by any of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) foreign ministers attending the conference in the hall -- they had left about an hour before for an official banquet elsewhere.
The exact nature of the demonstration was difficult to determine. It was described by the organisers as an 'anti-NATO' protest, but many of the young participants were supporting conflicting ideologies and issues. Both sides of the Britain-Iceland fishing dispute were well represented, and one speaker, a Portuguese army deserter, spoke of conditions in Portugal's African territories.
Security around the NATO conference hall was heavy, but there was no rioting. The protesters marched from the centre of Copenhagen, gathered by the Centre to hear speeches, and dispersed quietly.
The atmosphere inside the conference hall earlier in the day was almost as peaceful. It was the opening day of the 15-nation conference, and the speeches were concerned mainly with setting the general tone of the meeting.
Most delegates spoke of the necessity of maintaining a strong bargaining front, as NATO enters the coming phase of East-West arms reduction negotiations.
The Iceland fishing problem was touched upon, but representatives from both countries only reiterated their desire to resume negotiations as soon as armed vessels were withdrawn from the area.