01:02 GMT +323 October 2019
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    More than 5,000 people made 5.2 km chain around US military base Ramstein

    Silence is Beholden: German Media Ignores Mass Anti-US Drone Protest

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    The mainstream German media almost completely ignored a peace protest against the US Air Force Europe base at Ramstein, in which over 5,000 people demonstrated against the use of the facility to control drone attacks.

    Over 5,000 Germans turned up to a protest on Saturday against the US air force's use of the Ramstein base in south-west Germany. The US military uses the base to control drone strikes which kill innocent civilians, which protestors say is breaking German and international law.

    Despite the considerable public opposition to the base, the demonstration received barely a mention in the German press. Of the leading German broadcasters, only the regional Suedwestrunk (SDR) reported on the protest.

    "The media in Germany leaves no doubt that it is necessary to raise Germany's firm anchor in NATO as a pledge of peace and democracy," Klaus Hartmann, Chairman of the German Free Thinkers Association told Sputnik Deutschland at the peace festival which was held later the same in the nearby city of Kaiserslautern.

    Die Linke politician and music producer Diether Dehm told Sputnik that the protest is a sign of Germans' anger at the drone campaign being conducted from their territory.

    "There is great anger that such a big center for drones is tolerated here in Ramstein, such a center for espionage, whose terrible effects even have an indirect relation to the conflict in North Korea," Dehm said.

    The festival and the human chain protest were organized by the Stopp Air Base Ramstein group of activists. The human chain was 5.2 kilometers long and stretched around the perimeter of the airbase, which serves as headquarters for US Air Force Europe, and is also used as a NATO base.

    The 5,000-strong human chain around the US military base Ramstein
    © Sputnik / M. Joppa
    The 5,000-strong human chain around the US military base Ramstein
    A similar number of protesteors also formed a human chain there in June last year, following media reports that Ramstein was the operating center of the US drone program, which uses unmanned aerial vehicles for air strikes in the Middle East and Africa. 

    In December, the German government finally admitted that the US air force is using the base to carry out drone strikes which are used in anti-terror operations and to carry out extra-legal killings. 

    The West wants war, Freedom for Snowden were some of the slogans at the demonstration
    © Sputnik / M. Joppa
    "The West wants war," "Freedom for Snowden" were some of the slogans at the demonstration
    In response to a parliamentary question from Die Linke, the German federal government replied that the "planning, monitoring and evaluation" of drone operations was carried out at Ramstein.

    Die Linke deputy Andrej Hunko told Sputnik that at the least, the government needs to carry out a review into the US activities at Ramstein.

    "These drone operations are carried out in the course of the so-called war on terror, in which suspected terrorists are targeted by drones. Terrorists are targeted on the basis of lists created in the US and released by the American President every Tuesday. There are also so-called extralegal executions in countries which the US is not at war with, including Yemen and Pakistan," Hunko said.

    "They kill one or a few terrorists, but they also kill a lot of innocent people too. For many people in these regions there is a permanent fear that a drone could hit them at any time."


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