US authorities arrested at least five protestors at an anti-drone rally outside a military drone-operating base in the New York State, Upstate Drone Action Coalition coordinator John Amidon told Sputnik on Monday.
“We have had five people arrested,” Amidon said. “They blocked the main gates and police arrested them immediately.”
Dozens of protestors gathered outside the US National Guard base in the New York town of Dewitt, which is home to the MQ9 Reaper weaponized drone program.
The MQ9 Reaper currently patrols over Afghanistan and as a result of the drone program innocent civilians are killed, according to the Upstate Drone Action Coalition.
“They are committing war crimes,” Amidon claimed. “A very low percentage of people being killed by drones are combatants and mostly we are killing innocent children, women and men in any number of different countries around the world.”
Demonstrators attempted to block the entrance to the base in order to raise attention of the controversial practice using drones in warfare or government surveillance. Several demonstrators held signs and wooden characters representing the casualties of the US drone program.
“Our intent is to bring the images of their victims both to the Hancock chain of command and to the US public,” the Upstate Drone Action Coalition said in a statement.
As many as 42 civilians have been killed as a result of US drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2015, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
The Upstate Drone Action Coalition is a grassroots organization founded in 2010 to educate the public as well as the Hancock Air Base personnel about war crimes committed by drone warfare, according to the organization’s website.