Fifty to 100 anti-drone protesters are expected to turn out at the Hancock Air Base Sunday in Mattydale, according to organizers.
Two groups, Upstate Drone Action and theSyracuse Peace Council, will be demonstrating against the use of drones for surveillance and attacks starting at 1 p.m. near the entrance to the 174th Attack Wing of the New York State National Guard base.
A committee of international anti-drone activists has declared Oct. 5 the first Global Action Day against the use of drones for “surveillance and killing.”
DeWitt has issued a permit for the demonstration, and law enforcement officials have asked the base to designate a protest area, according to a news release issued Friday by New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
Protesters have been demonstrating against the drones since 2009. In February 2014, 12 members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars were sentenced to 15 days of jail by a DeWitt judge.
Some who have returned to demonstrate have been charged with more serious crimes and received longer sentences:
Mary Anne Grady-Flores, 58, received a one-year sentence in Onondaga County jail for violating an order of protection.
Jack Gilroy, 79, received three months in Onondaga County jail plus three year probation on top of a $1,000 fine.
Carol Baum, a member of the Syracuse Peace Council, began protesting about five years ago when Reaper drones came to Hancock Field. She said local protesters are not feeling deterred by the arrests which she believes are part of a strategy to make the penalties harsher.
“When you think about people actually dying of drone attacks, when you think of the desolation going on, when you think of the blowback on this country from all of those,” she said. “This is harsh to us what’s happening, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s happening to real people on the receiving end of this.”