On the 11th of June 2016, demonstrators under the banner “Stop Ramstein: No Drone Warfare” organized a variety of direct actions against the US Air Force base in Ramstein as well the global arms trade. The goals of the protesters were to exert political pressure on the government to change its foreign policy stance and to increase awareness on issues that surround it. According to the organizer’s website:
“Those that sow war, will reap refugees”
The demonstrator’s goal was to send a strong signal on this day as they are convinced that the majority of people in Germany do not want to be part of perpetual warfare. They deny the official justification coming from Berlin and NATO, that the US Air Force base in Ramstein successfully combats terrorism worldwide and ensures stability and security. They claim that such military bases have only served to increase tensions with nuclear armed states such as Russia and China and are fueling an arms race with them. Furthermore demonstrators link the “war on terror” with the rise of terrorism and refugees worldwide considering it a primary driver.
The activity which captured the demonstrators drive for peace was a symbolic gesture in the form a human chain, which stretched from Kindsbach over Landstuhl at the Airbase till the center of Ramstein. The organizers state that 5000 people took part in this protest while the police estimates between 2500 to 3000.
VIDEO: US Foreign Policy & Military Bases – Noam Chomsky, Joseph Gerson & John Lindsay Poland
In this video, Noam Chomsky, Joseph Gerson and John Lindsay Poland talk about the US foreign policy apparatus that includes US military bases worldwide and the drone program.
- What is the rational behind having 800 military bases worldwide?
- What role does the US air base in Ramstein play?
- Is the drone program justified?
- What can activists do to halt militarization?
All of these questions and more are addressed in this video:
Picture Gallery: STOP Ramstein “No Drone Warfare!” Demonstration
The protest actions organized by “Campaign Stop Ramstein: No Drone Warfare” on the 11th of June 2016, took place in various locations and times:
Location 1: Kaiserslautern, Central Station – 11:00 AM till 13:00 PM
- – Claudia Kettering, Theologian Kaiserslautern
- – Elsa Rassbach, Codepink USA/D
- – Dave Webb, Vorsitzender der Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), (GB)
Location 2: Ramstein-Miesenbach, Market Place – 11:30 AM till 13:30 PM
- Claudia Haydt, Information for Militarization (IMI)
- Torsten Schleip, DFG-VK, Cooperation for Peace
- Karl-Heinz Peil, Peace & Futureworkshop
- Merle Lindemann, Peace Circle Wanfried
- Simone Zuberbühler (Switzerland)
- Helena Potapova, Russian Peace Foundation (Smolensk)
Location 3: Landstuhl, City Hall– 11:30 AM till 13:30 PM
Following speakers addressed the demonstration at the Landstuhl City Hall:
- Ray McGovern, Former CIA-Analyst (USA)
- Roland Blach, DFG-VK (Baden-Württemberg)
- Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Wimbledon-Musician
- Thomas (Tommy) Rödl, DFG-VK (München)
- Susanne Wildberger, Theologian (Kaiserslautern)
At 13:30 PM the human chain began to form.
Location 4: Ramstein Air Base 15:30 PM
- Ray McGovern, Former CIA-Analyst (USA)
- Roland Vogt, Member of German Parliament (Green Party)
- Alexander Ulrich, Member of German Parliament (Left Party)
- Mohamed-Bashar Alajloub (Syrien)
- Connie Burkert-Schmitz, Speaker for the initiative “Stopp Ramstein–Kaiserslautern”
A Peace camp was also organized as part of the protests near the Ramstein Air Force base. The activity was highly organized from the logistical to the operational part – everyone who participated in these camps knew exactly how to proceed. The peace camps were active from the 8th of June till the 12th of June 2016 and were attended by hundreds of activists.
Background: The US Ramstein Air Base & Drone Program
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in Rhineland-Palatinate, a state in south-western Germany. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation. Ramstein is located near the town of Ramstein-Miesenbach, in the rural district of Kaiserslautern. The Air Base is used to coordinate and execute most of the United States global Drone program.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US drone operations have claimed the lives of circa 8215 humans and injured circa 240, which activists and human rights advocates cite as a reason for rising terrorism and militarization. They refute the claim of the United States and its allies that these drone operations have made the world more secure and consider it illegal under international and domestic law as well as fundamentally immoral.
A report by Niklas Stephenson.
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