Hiroshima survivor leads march to NATO headquarters

Fifty peace protesters, including a Japanese survivor of the Hiroshima 1945 atom bombing, held a protest at NATO headquarters in Brussels, demanding its members abolish the use of nuclear weapons.

Police detained 11 protesters, some dressed as clowns, as they tried to march up to the main gate at the alliance. The protest was backing the international campaign by mayors worldwide to ban nuclear weapons by 2020.

"War is very terrible and today we came here because NATO has several bombs and is a big power," Yoshio Sato told the AP through a translator.

Sato, 74, a survivor of the bomb that hit the Japanese city of Hiroshima sixty years ago Aug. 6, was participating in a peace march from the Belgian city of Ieper, where some 550,000 soldiers died in World War I, to a military base in the north of Belgium, which is rumored to house U.S. nuclear warheads. The Belgian and the U.S. government have denied this, however.

Ieper "is kind of the Hiroshima of the first world war because that was the first massive use of chemical weapons," said Pol D'Huyvetter, from the Belgian protest group Mother Earth. He added that a majority of U.N. member states wanted an international treaty banning nuclear weapons.

"The United States, backed by NATO member states are the main obstacle when it comes to moving forward," he said.

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