Sacto 9-1-1
October 31, 2012
Beale AFB site of drone protests

The California Highway Patrol said that nine protesters were taken into custody by military personnel Tuesday during a demonstration at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville.

The CHP was called in to assist Beale personnel at entry gates to the base about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. The CHP said that about 25 people were protesting.

The protesters were demonstrating against the use of unmanned aircraft by the military. The activists demand the banning of all drone aircraft.

The Associated Press has reported that since 2004, CIA drones have targeted suspected militants with missile strikes in the Pakistani tribal regions, killing hundreds of people. The program is not without controversy, because of questions about its legality, the number of civilians who have died as a result and its impact on Pakistan's sovereignty.

CHP officers allowed the Beale protesters to exercise their free speech rights, while also maintaining the safety of motorists, stated a CHP press release. The protest was peaceful, however Beale personnel took 9 people into custody for crossing onto federal property.

Five were taken into custody at the North Beale Gate and four at the Doolittle Gate. All nine were later released.

An observer for the National Lawyers Guild said that protesters were arrested, handcuffed and have future federal court dates. The spokesman said the protesters were arrested for simply standing next to the base gate -- which authorities had shut.

The CHP said that protesters dispersed about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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