NATO's biggest exercise since Cold War draws protests in Norway
Oslo : Rallies were held in Norway on Saturday to protest against NATO's biggest military exercise since the end of the Cold War in the Nordic country.
In Norway's capital city Oslo, about 1,000 protesters gathered at the Eidsvoll Square in the city centre to voice their opposition to the ongoing Trident Juncture 2018 exercise, which involves around 50,000 participants from all 29 NATO member nations and its partners Sweden and Finland.
Most of the demonstrators were from a group called "Oslo for Action against NATO," which comprises 27 affiliated organisations, including some left-wing political parties and the Oslo chapter of Norway's largest trade union confederation LO.
"The exercise is actually not good for the security of the Norwegian people," Geir Hem, organiser of the event, told Xinhua.
"It's part of the militarization and escalating the danger of war," Hem said. "It's kind of preparing Norway to be a battlefield and not to defend the people in Norway."
Anti-NATO protests were also organised on Saturday in Bergen, Norway's second largest city, and the southern city of Kristiansand. A similar demonstration was held last week in Trondheim in central Norway.
The Trident Juncture 2018 exercise takes place from October 25 to November 7 in central and eastern Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden.
Russia has said the NATO drills in Northern Europe are obviously anti-Russian and they lead to deterioration of military and political situation in the region, according to Russia's Sputnik news agency.
"It is obvious that this fighting capabilities demonstration has a distinct anti-Russian character," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department was quoted as saying in a statement on Thursday.
"It has a negative effect on the security of all the neighbouring countries," it said.