At the end of Sunday's antiwar demonstration in Brussels, Zohra Othman (Workers Party of Belgium) announced, ‘This morning we learned that 35 ships, 170 trainloads of matériel and 10,000 American soldiers will be transported via Antwerp harbour. The politicians must be made to realise that if they offer no resistance to this, the people will, in any case, indeed do so.’
Soon 44 American helicopters will be flown in from Germany, disassembled in Antwerp and shipped to Afghanistan, according to Flahaut. Those helicopters had been shipped from the U.S., assembled in Antwerp and flown to Germany to be deployed in Kosovo.
De Standaard [a Brussels newspaper] reported that various unnamed sources had said that in all, 170 trains with matériel and American troops from Germany in 60 columns of 30 vehicles each will move through our country to Antwerp. A test train arrived on 12 January, followed by the first transport, consisting of 10 trains. On 16 January, the first train of a new transport made up of 19 trains and 6 ships arrived in Antwerp harbour. According to De Standaard’s sources, the U.S. will mobilise two divisions of their Fifth Army stationed in Germany. There is talk of 20,000 troops, the majority (60%) of which will pass through Antwerp. The other harbours affected are Rotterdam and Bremen. Loading will take place on the left bank of the harbour, where there are sufficient facilities to unload three trains a day and reload the freight onto ships. Hesse-Noord Natie [a cargo handling company] are aware of the massive transport scenario.
An employee of Antwerp harbour has reported that one of the two ambulances of a small subcontractor of Hesse-Noord Natie has been placed exclusively at the service of the U.S. military. ‘If there's a serious accident involving harbour workers, there'll be only one ambulance to send. The other has been reserved for the Yankees. That could cost harbour workers their lives.’
Action every Wednesday in February
At this moment, American warships are being loaded in Antwerp harbour with weapons to be shipped to the Gulf. If we do nothing, the Americans will move a further 35 ships, 170 trains, 60 columns of 30 vehicles each and 10,000 soldiers through Antwerp. We will never let that happen!
Therefore, on Wednesday, 5, 12, 19 and 26 February at 3 p.m. on each day, there will be actions against the war transports. Meet in front of the Astrid Plaza Hotel at the Central Station in Antwerp.
On 16 November, along with Chénge the World [an activist group], we occupied Antwerp City Hall to protest the complicity of the SP.a [the Social Progressive Alternative party] and Agalev [the Flemish Green party] in the war on Iraq. On Wednesday, 15 January, three of our people prevented ships from leaving the harbour dock for an hour by chaining themselves to the sluice-gates. Let's carry out further such actions together.
Dockworkers, refuse to load the deathships. Lockkeepers, refuse to let the ships pass. Signalmen and -women, refuse to let the trains pass. Engineers, refuse to steer the trains. Drivers, refuse to drive the semitrailers. ...
Every hour a deathship or a deathtrain is delayed is an hour gained for the children of Iraq.