Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones Culminates with a conference in SYRACUSE and a massive demonstration at Hancock AFB- 31 arrested

Following the Convergence to Action, a weekend of workshops, panels, and organizing meetings in Syracuse headed by the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, nearly 300 activists came out to Hancock AFB on Sunday (4/28) in a massive demonstration that helped to cap the nationwide April Days of Action Against Drones, which included events all throughout the state.
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.

Vivid reminder that many of the civilians
 killed by drone strikes are children.

Demonstrators came from all over the country to raise an outcry against the proliferation of drone strikes abroad, including in countries with whom the US is not "officially" at war. Drone use violates article 6 of the US Constitution as well as International Law. Demonstrators also objected to the militarization of the police and the growing domestic use of drones. The protesters raised the issue that drone use globally actually perpetuates terrorism by stoking anti-American sentiment.


Veterans for Peace played a significant role in the demonstration,
as it has throughout the 
April Days of Action Against Drones.

The history of  demonstrations against the use of
 drones at Hancock apparently created the
 perceived need for a large police presence.
An account by Bruce K. Gagnon describes what happened next:

"After we had moved to the base in a slow funeral procession four of us from Veterans For Peace (VFP) stood next to the yellow crime scene tape the military and the local police used to mark the point we were not allowed to pass without risk of arrest. 
"A large number of activists crossed this line and
 performed a die-in blocking the entrance to the base.
  They covered themselves in white sheets smeared in red."

"While a policeman was issuing a warning with a bullhorn
 the four of us from VFP began reading the names of children
 killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan."

  "Once we finished reading the names we stepped over the line
 and were quickly grabbed by the cops, handcuffed, and
 escorted to the waiting big black police bus." 

Demonstrators delivered a war crimes indictment to the base. It reads:
"We, the people, charge the US President, Barack Obama, and the full military chain of command, to Commander Colonel Greg Semmel, every drone crew, and service members at Hancock Air Base, with crimes against humanity, with violations of part of the Supreme Law of the Land, extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation national sovereignty, and killing of innocent civilians."

Even with 31 demonstrators arrested, hundreds remained to
 deliver the message that "We STILL Will not be Complicit"
 in war crimes committed in the name of U.S. imperialism.
The thirty one arrestees were arraigned in De Witt Town Court before Judges Benack, Gideon, and Jokl, who imposed bails ranging from $500 - $3500, totalling $34,000. As Bruce Gagnon notes, the bails were punitively high and were accompanied by abusive treatment of those in jail and waiting for arraignment. 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.

Those Arrested:
Beth Adams, Levertt, MA
John Amidon, Albany, NY
Cynthia Banas, Vernon, NY
Ellen Barfield, Baltimore, MD
Russell Brown, Buffalo, NY
Kate De Mott Grady, Ithaca, NY
Beatrice Dewing, New York City, NY
Max Farhi, Ithaca, NY
Sandra Fessler, Rochester, NY
Daniel Finley, Ithaca, NY
Bruce Gagnon, Brunswick, ME
Jack Gilroy, Binghamton, NY
Charlie Heyn, Damascus, PA
John Honeck, Hamlin, NY
Rae Kramer, Syracuse, NY
Joanne Lingle, Indianapolis, IN
Mary Loehr, Ithaca, NY
Bonnie Mahoney, Buffalo, NY
Harry Murray, Rochester, NY
Valerie Niederhoffer, Buffalo, NY
Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse, NY
Jules Orkin, Bergenfield, NJ
Elizabeth Pappalardo, Crystal Lake, DE
Joan Pleune, Brooklyn, NY
Beverly Rice
Grace Ritter, Ithaca, NY
Matthew Ryden
Andrew Schoerke, Shaftsbury, VT
Mary Snyder, Johnson City, NY
Eve Tetaz, Washington, DC
Patricia Wieland, Northampton, MA

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.

For more information:
Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council, 315-472-5478315-383-5738
Ellen Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker, 607-279-8303

To see the report in local news, click here.
For video of the demonstrations, click here.

April Days of Action Against Drones are only the beginning of the fight against U.S. imperialism and the illegal killing that perpetuates it.

To get involved, check out the No Drones Network or subscribe to get e-mails about impending anti-drone actions.

No comments:

Post a Comment