Peace activists says drone protests at Hancock Air Base will continue
Activists opposed to drone warfare continue targeting the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base north of Syracuse.
During a protest at the air base last week, local upstate drone activists were joined by some members of the Atlantic Life Community Activists, an East Coast-based group of pacifists.
Seven protesters from places like Maryland, Vermont and New York City, were arrested for blocking the entrance to the base. Syracuse drone resister Ed Kinane, who was part of a group supporting the protest, says Hancock has become a prime target for more and more anti-drone activists.
"As they hear about these actions and they get more and more upset about these drone killings, more and more people are coming to Syracuse to protest against Hancock,” Kinane said.
He says the issue goes beyond the deaths of civilians during drone strikes.
“And it’s not just the killing, it’s the terrorism," Kinane explained. "When people live under drones, it’s terrorizing to them. It affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in a range of countries.”
Hancock is home to Reaper drones, which are piloted from Syracuse for actions in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. This latest event continues a series of rallies and vigils at the base that started five years ago. Last week, protesters were arrested on charges ranging from trespass and disorderly conduct to violating an order of protection for the base's commander.
Kinane believes that order of protection charge is a misuse of the charge itself.
"It’s absurd, because all of us out there demonstrating have impeccable records of non-violence," Kinane said. "The commander of the base, he’s protected by a barbed wire fence, he’s protected by men with guns who are trained to kill. We are no threat to him, none whatsoever.”
He believes that as time goes on, legal reaction to the protesters has deepened.
“Two of the people that were arrested in the last week, have $10,000 bails," Kinane explained. "Now these are people with impeccable records of showing up for court. They want to put the drones on trial in court, if they have an opportunity. So it’s just punitive, and the courts think it’s a form of deterrence, but I’m not sure that’s working.”