Four in custody after protest at Lincolnshire drones base

By staff writers
January 5, 2015

Four peaceful protesters have this morning (5 January) been arrested inside the RAF Waddington base in Lincolnshire while protesting against the continuing use of armed drones.

The protesters cut through the fence creating a “New Year Gateway for Peace”. They made their way towards the Reaper Ground Control Station from which Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots are remotely operating armed drones over Iraq.

They carried banners as well as reports of civilian casualties arising from recent UK, NATO and coalition air strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Chris Cole from Oxford, Katharina Karcher from Coventry, Gary Eagling from Nottingham and Penny Walker from Leicester were arrested inside the base. According to their supporters, they are being held at a police station in Lincoln.

Cole, a leading anti-drones activist, is a former director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (England), a longstanding Christian pacifist network.

The four said that they had “come to RAF Waddington today to say a clear ‘no’ to the growing normalisation and acceptability of drone warfare”.

After their arrest, a statement they had written beforehand was released by supporters on social media.

They declared, “Thanks to the marketing of drone war as ‘risk free’, ‘precise’ and above all ‘humanitarian’, war has been rehabilitated and accepted as virtually normal by those who see little or nothing of the impact on the ground thousands of miles away.”

They added, “Remote wars mean most no longer hear, see or smell the impact of bombs and missiles. With just a little effort we can almost believe that war is not happening at all. But behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatised.”

The protesters' action is the latest in a long line of nonviolent protests at the base since the UK government began to operate its drones from there in 2012. UK drones were previously operated by RAF pilots based in the US.

The four protesters said, “We have come to RAF Waddington, the home of drone warfare here in the UK, to say clearly and simply ‘End the Drone War’.”

[Ekk/1]

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