Report from Vandenberg Air Force Base

5 October, 2002


The participants in the October 5, 2002 anti-Star Wars demonstration at Vandenberg Air Force Base consisted of all age groups (which was heartening) and seemed to number 75-100. There were a few large banners and signs of all sizes. Some of them protested President Bush's policy toward Iraq or war in general, but most remained focused on keeping space for peace. Slogans were shouted by the passionate crowd. Some people came from as far away as Salinas in the north and Los Angeles in the south. On the downside, Vandenberg Airforce Base undermined our right to free speech by draping black cloth over their signage. Hence, passersby could not tell where we were standing.

The motorists seemed about evenly split in their reactions to us. Many waved, many made obscene gestures. In either case, we responded with waves and peaces signs. Reportedly, a few local media people were there early on, and a reporter from a Salinas college paper spent a good amount of time interviewing protestors(1).

Throughout the afternoon, the airforce base videotaped us on from all directions. Sometimes, when a new camera crew appeared, a few of us would turn in their direction and point our signs at them. This often stopped them from shooting us any longer.

Some of the guards overseeing us were supportive, and on one occasion, there was open dissension among them about our right to free speech. The guard who sided with us prevailed.

The event officially ended at three p.m., but a handful of us chose to stay about 45 minutes longer.

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