Members of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) and a growing body of fellow protesters gather every week at the headquarters of the company that supplies the workhorse of the U.S. program of drone killing and drone surveillance — the Predator and Reaper drones. Their goal in demonstrating outside the General Atomics facility is to heighten public awareness of the problems presented by drone technology, and to instigate oversight of drone use.
Five people were eventually arrested around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning after dozens of anti-drone demonstrators blocked the entrance to Beale Air Force Base for hours, resulting in hundreds of vehicles being prevented from entering the base.
Blocking the entry to the base was a tapestry of images of children
killed by American drones flown from places like Beale AFB
“STOP KILLER DRONES“
The CHP had to be called in to clear traffic which had lines of hundreds of cars in several directions after peace advocates from Sacramento, San Francisco, Nevada City and as far away as Fresno protested President Obama’s U.S. killer drone program.
Those arrested were briefly held on misdemeanor charges, which could result in six months in jail if convicted in federal court. In a similar action, 31 people were arrested at Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY on Sunday, 4/28
|Police begin to arrest demonstrators as a line of waiting drivers looks on.
Last October, nine people were arrested at Beale during protests – and five are facing months in prison if convicted in a trial set for Sacramento Federal Court this summer (August 12).
Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an “accomplice” in drone killings. Activists arrested attempted to deliver a letter to the Beale AFB commander that demanded:
(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.
“US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In the name of combating terrorism against the U.S. we are terrorizing innocent people, and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process,” said a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Nevada County Peace Center, Peace Fresno, WILPF and World Can’t Wait.
See video of the demonstration here:
Get involved in the nationwide movement against illegal drone killing!
SACRAMENTO On Monday April 15th, activists filled the streets in front of the state courthouse, broadcasting images of children killed by drones to passing bureacrats and politicians. They also made their way into the offices of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Doris Matsui. In Matsui’s office they were received attentively and given a pledge to take action. Though denied a hearing in Boxer’s office, they succeeded in leaving behind images of the many innocent victims of drone warfare.
SAN FRANCISCO On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, dozens of anti-war activists rallied with hundreds of disgruntled environmentalists in the streets around the cordoned-off home of Ann and Gordon Getty Wednesday, where the President was visiting with loyal benefactors, during World Can’t Wait’s protest against U.S. drone assassination program.
(On April 13, San Francisco will be the site of another drones protest: the ANSWER Coalition U.S. Drones Out of Africa, Middle East, Asia and Here! event.)
SAN DIEGO – The weekly protest at General Atomics headquarters on March 23 foreshadowed the multi-day anti-drones protest on April 4-6. (See coverage in The San Diego Free Press.)
The protests in San Diego are provoking questions about the U.S. drone program and U.S. dependence on arms production for jobs in the media. “With the U.S. drone industry contributing billions to their city, residents of San Diego must reconcile their politics with the need to keep their economy humming.” (The Daily Beast: San Diego, Hub of the U.S. Drone Industry. )
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