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Ten Protesters Arrested at NY Drone Base

- Common Dreams staff

Ten members of New York's Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars protesting the U.S. use of drone aircraft were arrested this morning at the gate of the Air National Guard's Hancock Field in DeWitt, New York. The demonstration was timed to coincide with the march in Waziristan, Pakistan this weekend.

The Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard reports:

Ten members of a group protesting the U.S. use of drone aircraft were arrested this morning at the gate of the Hancock Field in DeWitt.

It was peaceful and over quickly. After a trooper delivered a last warning about 9:40 a.m., state and DeWitt police and Onondaga County sheriff's deputies walked down the shoulder of East Molloy Road, told the protesters they were under arrest, put them in handcuffs and walked them to waiting patrol cars.

They would be taken to the stations of the agencies that arrested them, charged with trespassing and issued appearance tickets, DeWitt police said.

The protest was conducted by Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.

The demonstration was timed to coincide with a march in Pakistan against the use of the unmanned attack planes and the end of the 11th year of the war in Afghanistan, said Ann Tiffany, speaking for the group.

According to a list distributed by Tiffany, the persons charged included Brian Hynes, of the Bronx; Dan Burgevin, of Ithaca; Ed Kinane, of Syracuse; Jack Gilroy, of Endwell; Jim Clune, of Binghamton; Julienne Oldfield, of Syracuse; Mark Scibilia-Carver, of Ithaca; Martha Hennesey, of New York City, Mary Snyder, of Johnson City; and Rae Kramer, of Syracuse.

All 10 were released by 11:30 a.m., Tiffany said this afternoon.

The New York Air National Guard base at Hancock Field is the home of the 174th Attack Wing, formerly the 174th Fighter Wing. The wing operates MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. It's been the target of protesters several times in the past.

Today's protest began about 8 a.m., Tiffany said. Five people, Tiffany among them, stood on the shoulder of East Molloy across the road from the gate, holding signs. Nine of the 10 people who planned to be arrested stood in a line in front of the gate. They quietly held banners decrying the use of drone aircraft as they stood in the path of vehicles entering the base.

The 10th, Snyder, was seated in the wheelchair she uses because of an aging hip replacement, holding a sign and chatting with Oldfield as they waited for the police.

"I am very upset over what our government is doing," Snyder said.

The bombs dropped from drones often not only kill the person targeted but people around them who are not targeted, she said.

"Our country is acting as a terrorist country," Snyder said. "It's not in our nature as Americans to be treating innocent people in this way."

* * *

Jack Gilroy, later arrested for trespassing at Hancock Field, talks about why he was protesting.

* * *

Onondaga County sheriff's deputies, DeWitt and state police arrest anti-drone protesters blocking the base's main gate.

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