Protesters from the New York Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars demonstrated at the gate of the Air National Guard's Hancock Field in DeWitt , New York. Ten demonstrators were arrested.
The demonstration was timed to coincide with the larger protest in Pakistan that involved a number of Americans. The DeWitt demonstration did not last long. A trooper delivered a last warning to the group at shortlly before 10 A.M.
Shortly after, DeWitt police and Onondoga County Sherrif's deputies told the protesters they were under arrest. They then put ten in handcuffs and led them away to waiting patrol cars. Police said the group would be taken to the stations that arrested them, charged with trespassing, and then issued appearance tickets. As well as coinciding with the protest in Pakistan the demonstration marked the 11th year of the war in Afghanistan, according to Ann Tiffany, who spoke for the group. Tiffany said that all 10 of those arrested had been released by the afternoon.
The New York National Guard base at the Hancock Field, houses the 17th Attack Wing who operate MQ- Reaper drones. The base has been a target for protests in the past as well. The protest began at 8 in the morning.
Several people stood on the shoulder of the road holding signs. Nine of the ten, who had decided to face arrest, stood in front of the gate to the base, holding banners opposing the use of drones. They blocked the path of vehicles entering the gate.
The tenth person, Mary Snyder, was in a wheelchair she requires because of an aging hip replacement. Snyder said:"I am very upset over what our government is doing. The bombs dropped from drones often not only kill the person targeted but people around them who are not targeted. Our country is acting as a terrorist country.It's not in our nature as Americans to be treating innocent people in this way."Recent statistics show that 62% of Americans support drone attacks, so it does not seem against the nature of Americans to treat people this way. Perhaps, Americans are not really aware of what is happening. Certainly, most of the media, do not help inform Americans about this issue.
Meanwhile in Pakistan the Pakistan Taliban, after first threatening the peace caravan, have now offered protection. However, according to a recent report, the army has blocked the group from entering Waziristan.