A nationwide, month-long campaign of counter-drone teach-ins, rallies and protest, called “April Days of Action” by its organizers, will challenge the escalated use of drones for targeted assassination by the Obama Administration as well as domestic surveillance by police agencies around the United States. The actions will call for a total halt to drone killing and surveillance.
The campaign, that has been months in the making, is being boosted by a groundswell of domestic opposition to use of drones against American citizens in the United States, sparked by the leaking in February of a government “white paper” on drone targeting of United States citizens and the drone filibuster by United States Senator Rand Paul in early March.
“The April Days of Action will continue to build the surging interest in banning — or given the blank slate of existing law, at least regulating and limiting — the domestic use of drones,” said Shahid Buttar, Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC). “Some jurisdictions have already passed legislation to ban drones, and BORDC will soon release model legislation that anyone can use to recruit allies and local elected officials to assert control over drones.”
“There is no question that the April Days of Action will exhibit a level of antiwar and civil liberties activism that is unprecedented in recent years,” said Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink. “The only question is whether the Administration’s half-hearted attempts to put the drone genie back in the bottle will satisfy the American public, now that the public has been awakened.”
Planning for the April campaign was set in motion in December, 2012 by a group of antiwar organizations (listed below), with the goal of bringing the widest possible public attention to the ways in which drones are violating rights of sovereignty, due process, privacy, freedom of assembly and safety of persons and communities and to point out the exploding proliferation of U.S. drone manufacturing, U.S. drone research, and U.S. drone bases.
“Most people here in the United States know a little bit about drones; we want everyone to begin to see the depth of the threat that drones present to all of us, regardless of what nation we live in,” said Nick Mottern, founder of Know Drones, an educational organization.
The April events, which span the United States, from Hawaii to Maine, have been coordinated by Joe Scarry, of the No Drones Network. “As I have talked to people across the country,” Scarry said, “I have found a remarkable level of determination to be part of this campaign to stop drone killing and spying. People read about this in the paper every day, and they can feel in their guts that it’s wrong, and they want to stop it now.”
Events are planned for Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Dayton, Ft. Wayne, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Seattle, Tucson, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Honolulu, as well as in dozens of other locations, including many of the communities that host the estimated 100 drone basing sites in the U.S.
A broad alliance of organizations — in addition to Code Pink, Know Drones, and No Drones Network — worked to promote the national mobilization against drones, including national organizations like the American Friends Service Committee, Fellowship of Reconciliation, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Pakistan Solidarity Network, Veterans for Peace, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War is a Crime.org and World Can’t Wait, as well as dozens of state and local peace and justice organizations, including Peace Action (NY), Upstate (NY) Drone Action and Brandywine Peace Community (Philadelphia).
Details on events are being posted here.