4 June 2013
Six protesters have been arrested after breaking into RAF Waddington, from where drones used to target insurgents in Afghanistan are remotely controlled.
The group, which entered through a fence around the Lincolnshire at 8am and included a Catholic priest and an Anglican priest, managed to set up banners and plant a "peace garden" consisting of a number of shrubs before they were arrested.
Supporters of the six, who were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, claim that police later visited homes in London and elsewhere and seized computer equipment.
Among those detained was Chris Cole, a blogger and co-ordinator of the Drone Campaign Network, who said: "To build real peace and security in our world we need to breech the silence and secrecy that surrounds remote warfare and expose the impact of the drone wars on global peace and security as well as the lives of ordinary Afghans."
According to a statement issued by the campaign group, Disarm the Drones, the others who were arrested were: Martin Newell, a Catholic priest; Dr Keith Hebden, an Anglican priest, Susan Clarkson, a Quaker; Henrietta Cullinan, a teacher in London; and Penny Walker, a grandmother who has campaigned for asylum seekers in Leicester.
"We created a gateway and peace garden at RAF Waddington in order to make a way for other people of peace to do their civic and moral duty and disarm these drones," said Walker.
The action was timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the first UK drone strike and the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.
Lincolnshire police said that officers were called to RAF Waddington after reports that a number of people had damaged a perimeter fence. The force added that six people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
Missions of the missile-carrying Reaper aircraft began from a newly built headquarters at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire in April – five years after the Ministry of Defence bought the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor and attack the Taliban.
Hundreds of peace campaigners have subsequently gathered outside the base to protest.
The MoD has defended its use of drones in Afghanistan, stating that they
have saved the lives of
military personnel and civilians. MoD officials have also said that Reaper
aircraft are piloted by highly trained professional military pilots who adhere
to laws of armed conflict and the same clearly defined rules of engagement
which apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft.
4 June 2013
Six people, none of which are local, have been charged with criminal damage following an incident at RAF Waddington yesterday.
Lincolnshire Police were called to the base at 8.48am yesterday after reports that a number of people had damaged a perimeter fence.
Susan Clarkson, 66, of Bath Street, Oxford, Christopher Cole, 49, of Wilkins Road, Oxford, Henrietta Cullinan, 51, of Trumans Road, London,
Keith Oliver Hebden, 37, of Nottingham Road, Mansfield, Martin Newell,
45, of Mattison Road, London and Penelope Walker, 62, of Gutham Street,
Leicester have all been charged.