Drone protest leads to arrest at Tucson’s Raytheon Missile Systems

A dozen activists gathered outside of Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona at 7 a.m. Monday morning, October 3 to protest drone warfare and war profiteering.  The group held signs reading “No to War Profiteering”, “We Have Guided Missiles and Misguided Men – MLK”, and “Drone Attacks Inspire Hatred of the U.S.”,  as employees drove into the factory.

Tucson Quaker and Catholic Worker John Heid, holding a sign that said “Make Us Instruments of Peace”, walked toward the Raytheon gatehouse to communicate with workers about weapons produced there (including Standard Missiles, Star Wars “kill vehicles”, Mavericks, AMRAAMs, microwave crowd control beams, pilotless drones, cluster bombs and cruise missiles) and particularly about his concerns regarding drone warfare.

Heid was stopped while nearing the gatehouse, arrested and taken to jail.

Earlier he stated, “Today, October 3rd, sandwiched between Gandhi’s birthday and the feast of Francis of Assisi, I come to Raytheon with a plea: Make me an instrument of peace!  I come with Gandhian nonviolence and a Franciscan spirit to urge Raytheon Corporation to use its genius, its imagination, its fiscal and scientific resources for the creation and manufacture of those products that enhance life, not destroy it.  I come with the knowledge that Raytheon Missile Systems is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) components and missiles. I come with the knowledge that U.S. drones are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimates that 957 civilians were killed in their country alone last year.  I urge Raytheon to make things that make for peace… Make us instruments of peace!”

The peace vigil is one of dozens around the world happening from October 1-8, Keep Space for Peace Week: International Week of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.  There was also an October 3 peace vigil at Raytheon Headquarters in Massachusetts.  A complete list of global protests can be found at www.space4peace.org

The Raytheon Peacemakers have been vigiling once a month outside Tucson’s Raytheon plant for the past 12 years.  They continue to demonstrate against war and those who profit from it, firmly believing that survival demands better ideas, not better weapons.