Peace activists from Maine and beyond will walk through large portions of our state from October 10-19 in order to bring the issue of drone surveillance at home and drone killing overseas to the public’s attention. The walk will begin in Limestone in Aroostook County and end in Bath.
President Obama has announced that as many as 30,000 drones will be flying around the US doing surveillance of the American people in the coming years. Thirty-seven states have applied to host one of six military drone test centers across the nation.
There is much talk about bringing drones to Maine and making the Presque Isle airport a weaponized drone test center, thus the reason for starting the walk in Aroostook County.
Last spring the Maine legislature passed a bill that would require police to obtain a warrant before snooping on citizens across the state. Gov. LePage vetoed the bill.
According to Lisa Savage, co-coordinator of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home, “This walk is important to raise awareness of how the government spends our tax dollars on very expensive drones to keep us all under surveillance. Drones are being used to kill thousands of innocent civilians, including hundreds of children, around the world. People here in the U.S. say they want their tax dollars spent on health care, education, jobs and veterans benefits -- not drones.”
Doug Rawlings from Maine Veterans For Peace said, “As I walk down these Maine roads that I have driven for the past 35 years, I will be going past bridges and schools that have been built since World War II military expenditures were converted over into infrastructure funds. My father's generation put away the munitions and started building the country that has given us the life we now lead. Over forty years ago I served in an artillery unit in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Our howitzers dropped rounds on countless Vietnamese peasants, and I didn't blink an eye. Now I realize the anguish we wrought then, and visit now on Afghan and Pakistani children with our Predator drones. I cannot, in good conscience, accept or support such a use of my tax dollars.”
The drone walk begins in Limestone on October 10 and will pass through Caribou, Presque Isle, Old Town, Bangor, Skowhegan, Mercer, Farmington, Waterville,Belgrade, Augusta and Bath. (Some driving will be necessary between some of these communities. The walk will average about 13 miles per day. In the evenings walkers will be fed at local churches and will stay in local homes.)
On October 18 the walkers will hold a protest against drones inside the Hall of Flags at the state capital in Augusta at 3:00 pm.
The walk will conclude on October 19 with a 10:00 am protest in Bath at the “christening” of the Navy’s first “stealth” destroyer at Bath Iron Works.
Drone Walk Schedule
· October 10 (Thursday) Begin in Limestone (former Loring AFB) and walk to Caribou.
· Oct 11 (Friday) Walk to Presque Isle
· Oct 12 (Saturday) Drive to Old Town and walk into Bangor and have program that night
· Oct 13 (Sunday) Walk to Skowhegan (need to drive some part of the day) with program that night
· Oct 14 (Monday) Walk to Mercer
· Oct 15 (Tuesday) Walk to Farmington with program that night
· Oct 16 (Wednesday) Walk to Waterville (need to shuttle some part of the day)
· Oct 17 (Thursday) Walk to Belgrade
· Oct 18 (Friday) Walk to Hall of Flags in state capitol, Augusta (see above)
· Oct 19 (Saturday) Walk concludes with protest in Bath
Buddhist monks and nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji order will lead the nonviolent peace walk.
The walk is being organized by Maine Veterans For Peace and the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. The walk will be held during Keep Space for Peace Week and is just one of many such events that will be held around the world.