Recently there have been many anti-drone demonstrations across the United States and around the world, with the latest at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago.
Boeing is one of the United States’ largest defense contractors, spending a whopping $17.89 million on lobbying efforts in 2010 alone.
This latest protest focused on the annual meeting at the Field Museum of Natural History and was made up of activists from the Anti-War Committee of Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
While the Tribune makes a point of noting that military aircraft “accounted for 20 percent of [Boeing’s] revenue last year,” they don’t point out that Boeing brought in $81.7 billion in revenue in 2012, according to the company overview presentation.
In other words, Boeing’s military aircraft sales in 2012 brought in somewhere around $16,340,000,000 in revenue.
The activists protested both the development of drones and the tax incentives given to Boeing that pushed the company to move its headquarters to Chicago over a decade ago.
“As a Chicago public school parent, I resent the fact that Boeing reports record profits while the public schools are being defunded and closed,” said Sarah Simmons, a Boeing stockholder and protest organizer, according to the Tribune.
Others, including Lisa Angonese, a mother of two and daughter of a World War II pilot, emphasized the need for peaceful resolution of conflict instead of perpetual war.
“I don’t want Chicago to be known as the birthplace of a machine that kills people,” said Kait McIntyre, recent University of Illinois at Chicago graduate and anti-war activist.
Unsurprisingly, a Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the protest to the Tribune.
This protest was much smaller than other recent actions, attracting “about a dozen” demonstrators, according to the Tribune.
Around 250 activists recently attended the protest outside Hancock Field Air Force National Guard Base in New York, according to the Post-Standard, leading to the arrest of around 30 people.
The base is home to the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard which operates armed drones thousands of miles away.
It is worth noting that several National Guard units operate drones in the United States as well, with one pushing for authorization to fly out of a public airport.
The youngest of those arrested on charges of misdemeanor obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct was 24-year-old Caithraoine Demott Grady and the oldest was 88-year-old Mary Snyder.
The arrests came after a series of rallies and workshops were held in Syracuse over the weekend, organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.
Last fall, town judges in DeWitt, where the base is located, issued an order of protection against peace activists who were “showing up unannounced at the base and blocking its gate,” according to the Post-Standard.
“It is a flagrant effort to deny us our first amendment rights,” said Elliot Adams, one of the rally organizers, who also called the order of protection “absurd.”
DeWitt judges also recently sentenced five activists to 15 days in jail for trespassing during a protest. The activists blocked the main entrance of the base, according to the Post-Standard.
These are just a couple of examples of widespread anti-drone demonstrations we have seen recently. Hundreds recently demonstrated against a United Kingdom flight control center. A small group protested outside of Fort Bragg earlier this month, a large protest recently hit Washington, D.C. and a recent protest in Horsham, Pennsylvania targeted a new drone command center.
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