22:33 GMT +320 June 2018
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    Ramstein Air Base, Germany

    Demonstrators to Blockade US' Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Protest Drone War

    © Photo: Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston, U.S. Air Force
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    Anti-war activists plan to block access to the US’ Ramstein Air Force Base in southwestern Germany during their annual protest next month to urge the facility to end its support of US drone operations.

    The protest, which is expected to take place from June 23 to July 1, will be organized by the Berlin-based organization "Stopp Ramstein — No Drone War." According to one of the event's organizers, Reiner Braun, the protest will include other activities like blocking access roads to Ramstein, Star and Stripes reported Wednesday. 

    "Drones are very unpopular in Germany. It is killing. It is from our understanding against international law," Braun recently told World Beyond War, an organization that seeks to end war.

    Around 5,000 people are expected to participate in the protest. In addition, 30 members of the German and European parliaments will also rally this year, calling for the end of what they call America's "illegal drone war" in the Middle East. The protest has support from multiple peace organizations, including Women for Peace and CODEPINK, which both work to end wars and occupation.

    When Star and Stripes asked Braun to provide more details on activities that will be carried out by protesters, Braun declined. 

    "We do not want to make it too easy for the police," Braun said, though adding "everything will be peaceful… in the best tradition of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi."

    Ramstein's role in the US drone war became public in 2013 after Brandon Bryant, who was a camera operator of unmanned drones of the US Air Force between 2006 and 2011, divulged that the Air Force drone program preached indiscriminate destruction in the Middle East.

    In an interview with Roots Action in October 2017, Bryant said, "They [the US Air Force] put us into a theater and showed us a montage video of drone strikes and at the end they told us that our only job is to kill people and break things. It went against everything that I had ever learned about honor and justice and training. It was terrifying how dismissive people were about the whole affair. We were safe in the US and those over there [Middle East] were not. We win. But that's not how it goes."

    In 2015, Bryant was awarded the Whistleblower Award by the Federation of Scientists and the German section of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms.

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    air base, drones, air force, Germany
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