Thousands of protesters gather in Madrid to oppose NATO summit

MADRID: Thousands of protesters rallied in Madrid to demand peace and voice opposition to the upcoming NATO summit that will take place in the Spanish capital later this week.

Global social, anti-military, and pacifist groups from around the globe gathered to show solidarity for a congress concluded here by an anti-NATO group, and its latest declaration calling for peace.

"Thousands of people are demonstrating today in Madrid for peace, for a multilateral world so that Spain can live in harmony," Jose Luis Centella, president of the Communist Party of Spain, said.

A demonstrator drew attention to "other concerns such as the closure of emergency services, and outpatient clinics and hospitals which are more and more overcrowded every day, yet there is no money for that" in addition to the sharp increase in Spain's military budget. Demonstrators said that the US-led military alliance's call for higher defence spending in Europe was a threat to world peace and that the spending should go to hospitals and schools.

The Spanish government has increased security in advance of the next NATO Summit in reaction to the continuing large rally.

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