Five arrested at Beale drone base on Ash Wednesday

photo by Janie Kesselman

photo by Janie Kesselman

Five people – including members of the clergy and veterans – were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service around 8 a.m. today, March 5, at the gates of  Beale Air Force Base, site of the surveillance drone Global Hawk.

Participants, who were charged with trespassing, said they risked arrest to memorialize the children killed by the U.S. government’s fleet of killer drones. Beale’s drones perform reconnaissance work for U.S. Predator drones.

The demonstrators spread ashes memorializing those of children killed by U.S. drones overseas.

Arrested were Rev. Sharon Delgado, Nevada City; Rev. Elizabeth Griswold, Davis/Sacramento; Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, an 89-year-old WW II  U.S. Marine, retired Lutheran pastor, Sacramento; Flora Rogers, Marysville and Michael Kerr, a veteran, Baypoint.

Rev. Pedersen was on the Battleship USS Missouri that accepted the Japanese surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.

It is the fourth action resulting in arrests at Beale Air Force Base in about a year. Eight people have been convicted in U.S. Federal Court, and another trial is set for next month.

Wednesday’s Ash Wednesday service included a call to faithfulness and action, songs, prayers, scripture, Holy Communion (open to all), and the use of ashes to symbolize repentance and to acknowledge our mortality and interrelatedness with the whole web of life.

photo by Guarionex Delgado

photo by Guarionex Delgado

Some carried white crosses with drawings memorializing children killed by U.S. drones.

“We issued a call to repentance for the harm done to the Indigenous people who used to live where Beale is now, the harm being done to Mother Earth by our building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, the overall harm caused by the global reach of U.S. military power,” said Sharon Delgado, one of the clergy arrested. She was also arrested last year at a protest at Beale.

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