30 April 2013
For more information: |
Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council, 315-472-5478, 315-383-5738;
Ellen Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker, 607-279-8303
275 People at Protest; 31 Arrested
Bruce Gagnon of Bath, Maine was among thirty-one members of the “Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars” to be arrested April 28, 2013 at Hancock Air Force Base in Syracuse, NY. Gagnon was protesting the illegal use of drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.
Gagnon is a co-coordinator of the campaign to Bring War $$ Home in Maine and a coordinator for the Global Network against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
See also: "Protecting Drone Crimes"
Over 275 people marched in a solemn funeral procession to demand that Hancock Air National Guard Base cease drone strikes. People carrying banners and coffins identified countries where U.S. drone attacks have killed over a thousand innocent civilians. As they were arrested, some read the names of people who have died in the drone attacks.
People who participated in the demonstration, including some who were arrested, came from all over the country to raise an outcry against the proliferation of drone strikes abroad, including countries with whom the US is not at war. Drone use violates the US Constitution, Article 6, and International Law, which the U.S. has signed on to. Demonstrators also object to the militarization of the police and the growing domestic use of drones. The protesters raised the issue that drone use globally makes Americans unsafe because of the blow back effect.
Demonstrators attempted to deliver a war crimes indictment to the base. It reads:
The thirty-one arrestees were arraigned in De Witt Town Court before Judges Benack, Gideon, and Jokl, who imposed bails ranging from $500 - $3500, totaling $34,000. Some of the defendants were released with appearance tickets Others are refusing to post bail and will be held in jail until the next court date of May 7th & 8th. Donations may be sent to the Syracuse Peace Council, with checks made out to Syracuse Peace Council,note : Upstate Drone Action Bail Fund. 2013 E. Genessee St., Syracuse, NY 13210.
30 drone protesters
arrested at Hancock air base at conclusion of weekend rally (names)
Syracuse, N.Y. – About 30 people were arrested outside the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base this afternoon during a protest against the use of unmanned aerial drones.
The arrests came at the end of a series of workshops and rallies held in Syracuse this weekend and organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.
Today’s rally attracted more than 250 people who gathered on the grounds of OCM BOCES on Thompson Road, then marched in a funeral like process to the gates of the base, home to the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard. The unit operates unmanned, armed drones thousands of miles away. The drones are used for intelligence gathering and bombing ground targets.
Protesters pounded drums, chanted and carried mock coffins. A baby doll smeared with fake blood was suspended from a tall poll carried by one protestor.
A sheriff’s deputy speaking through a bullhorn warned protesters lying on the driveway in front of the gate to get up off the ground or face arrest for disorderly conduct. After they refused, the protesters were handcuffed and escorted to a Sheriff’s Department van.
Protesters were arrested on a variety of charges including disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and loitering. Their names were not immediately available.
DeWitt town judges granted an order of protection last fall against peace activists who were showing up unannounced at the base and blocking its gate. That order didn’t deter protestors today.
Elliott Adams of Sharon Springs, one of the rally organizers, called the order of protection “absurd.”
“It is a flagrant effort to deny us our first amendment rights,” he said.
Adams said when he participated in anti-drone protests three years ago
many people did not know what drones were. Since then opposition to using
drones has grown, he said.
People came from all over the country to attend the rally.
Larry Center, 61, of Charleston, S.C., said he came because “ ... this is ground zero for peace.” Center, who uses a walker, attends war protests across the country.
“I’m not going to shut up until we have an honest country again,” Center said.
Several peace activists addressed the crowd, including Bruce Gagnon of
Florida, a coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power
“Isn’t it equally wrong for us to do the same thing in Afghanistan and Pakistan?” he asked.
A total of 31 people were charged from the protests.
The following were arrested on charges of misdemeanor obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, a violation:
The following person was arrested on the above charges, as well as misdemeanor criminal contempt:
The following were charged with misdemeanor obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, a violation, as well as a warrant charging disorderly conduct from a previous incident:
The following person was charged with misdemeanor criminal contempt and loitering, a violation:
The following person was charged with loitering:
The following person was charged with disorderly conduct, a violation: