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    Soldiers walk after demonstration of their skills during a military police exercise before the NATO summit in July in Warsaw at the PGE National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland May 24, 2016

    NATO Presence in Europe is Like 'Spartan Troops in Athens in Ancient Times'

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    Radio Sputnik discussed the protests against US military bases in northern Italy with journalist Claudio Gallo.

    About 1,000 protesters participated on Saturday in a demonstration against NATO bases in the city of Vicenza, located in northeastern Italy.

    "The problem of the presence of NATO in Italy is a problem felt all around Italy. If you want to have an image of what NATO means in Europe, you have to think about Spartan troops in Athens in ancient times," the journalist told Sputnik.

    According to the journalist, the United States uses its military bases in Europe for the purpose of global surveillance. For instance, the US base in Sicily is particularly important to Washington because it allows the United States to monitor and carry out surveillance in North Africa and the Middle East.

    Washington can justify its actions as some kind of "defence" against potential threats, however, its surveillance rather resembles "an offensive," he argued.

    "I think Italy should choose not to be a part of this. It is not in Italy's national interest," Gallo argued.

    The protest campaign was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, which opposes a US airbase located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying "Protection of land for the future without military bases." There are four NATO bases in the Vicenza area.

    Earlier, the Italian opposition party Five Stars (M5S) Movement repeatedly criticized the Italian government's policy with respect to the country's troop deployment to a NATO mission in Latvia. Members of the movement also called to organize a referendum on the presence of NATO military bases in the country.

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    protest, military bases, NATO, Italy
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