Committee of Swiss soldiers who refused to work for the G8
(Letter to Payday 8 June 2003)
'movement' or 'refusnik' are probably too big to describe what we
are . . . Nonetheless, I'll try to tell you what happened in the last few
If soldiers had come under attack they were ordered to shoot with live ammunition.
The whole thing with this "comité de soldats contre le G8" started about three months ago, when the first orders were issued to mobilize for the protection of the G8 summit. Switzerland has a militia army (i.e. principally every man has to do military service here, with repetition courses every year or every second year), many civilians get such orders, I was one of them. The first calls to unite and refuse the service were made via independent internet media.
Finally, a small group of guys who were supposed to do their service for the G8 summit came together. We set up our internet site (http://www.g8verweigerung.ch.vu ), first in German, then in French and later in Italian. We met some anti-G8 and anti-militarist activists, who supported us, especially with doing some work with the media. At that time, the federal police said to the media that they were investigating us, because it was illegal to incite people not to go to the army. Apparently, their investigations were not very successful...
We got more and more letters and emails from other soldiers who did not want to protect the summit in Evian. In the end there were not too many. However, there were a lot of other soldiers who didn't make direct contact with us, but tried to find a way on their own. Some wrote demands for a change, others tried to get a medical excuse. The chances to refuse the service were quite high, if you claimed political reasons why you can't go to protect the G8 summit. Obviously, the army just wanted willing soldiers...
Officially 25% of soldiers refused to go to the G8 summit. The army claimed that this was not higher than for normal “repetition courses”. In fact, we informally got information that the army had serious problems to find enough people: In some units up to 60% of soldiers refused to serve
Now, the summit is over. As far as we know, there were no serious incidents with soldiers involved.
The topic of the soldiers refusing to go to the summit got really big media attention in Switzerland. When we held a press conference two weeks before the summit, almost all media covered it. We actually made it onto the front pages of some of the most important newspapers in Switzerland and we were in the evening news of the national TV stations.
I think the 'comité de soldats contre le G8' has done its work now and will soon stop functioning. There already is a big anti-militarist organisation here, the “Groupe pour une Suisse sans armée” (Group for Switzerland without army): http://www.gssa.ch (French) http://www.gsoa.ch (German)
That's more or less
what happened in the last months and weeks.
refuse to kill