At an anti-drone, anti-war protest at Syracuse Hancock International Airport over the weekend, nine protestors from Ithaca were arrested and are set to appear in court May 3 and 4 for obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
More than 250 people gathered at Hancock Air Base to say, “Ground the Drones, Stop the Wars,” because the airbase is the home of the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard that has been flying MQ-9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan, from Syracuse, since 2009.
The rally was organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, and participants’ ages ranged from 17 to 91.
Ithaca protestors walked from Ithaca to Syracuse, starting April 17 and arriving Wednesday or Thursday. The official protest at the air base happened Friday.
Ellen Grady, one of the Ithaca residents arrested, said though she didn’t walk the whole way, the walk was a way to make the community aware that these drones exist.
“We got to talk to people,” she said. “We got to be visible.”
Grady said the drone strikes are a violation of due process, part of the war of aggression and they kill innocent civilians.
“When we stepped out in that roadway and I laid on that roadway, I didn’t feel what I was doing was breaking the law,” she said. “I feel what I was doing was trying to uphold the law. … I want to continue to call our government into accountability, and that’s why I stood there on that roadway.”
Near the end of the rally, 34 people from the group lay down in the roadway into the base, and three others walked toward the gate to deliver an indictment to the base commander for violations of human rights.
The nine Ithaca residents who were arrested at the protest include Danny Burns, Clare Grady, Ellen Grady, Mary Anne Grady Flores, Suzy Kyssack, James Ricks, Todd Saddler, Mark Scibilia-Carver and Ian Sloan.
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