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Protesters plan 'civil disobedience' near Ramstein Air Base in June

The organizers of a protest scheduled to be held outside Ramstein Air Base in Germany, planned to begin next month, spoke at a press conference in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on May 23, 2018. From left, Pascal Luig, Reiner Braun, Connie Burkert-Schmitz and Hans Sander.

MARCUS KLOECKNER/STARS AND STRIPES

By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 23, 2018

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Anti-war activists plan to block access to Ramstein Air Base and mount other acts of civil disobedience during their annual protest next month, organizers said Wednesday.

“Specially trained” activists will participate in the protest, scheduled to run from June 23 to July 1, organizers with the Berlin-based “Stopp Ramstein — No Drone War” alliance told reporters.

The acts will include blocking access roads to Ramstein, said Reiner Braun, one of the event’s organizers. The activities will be carried out by 200-300 participants divided into groups of 8-12 members, Braun said.

When asked what exactly the protesters would do, Braun declined to divulge any more details.

“We do not want to make it too easy for the police,” Braun said.

Braun added that “everything will be peaceful ... in the best tradition of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.”

At the group’s last protest in September, traffic through the base’s Gate 5 slowed throughout the afternoon and stopped when protesters blocked traffic for a few minutes. No arrests were made, base officials said at the time.

Base officials at Ramstein normally advise personnel to stay away from the protest area to avoid traffic delays.

About 30 members of the German and European parliaments — all members of leftist political parties — will take part in the final rally this year, Braun said.

The activists plan to focus their protest on what they describe as America’s “illegal drone war” in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as the German government’s plans to equip its army with armed drones, Braun said.

They will also demand the closure of the sprawling U.S. air base because they say it would serve as a logistic hub for a theoretical war with Iran.

About 2,500 people took part in the protest group’s annual rally last year, according to police; organizers said as many as 5,000 attended the gathering.

Braun said that the group expects the same number of protesters this year.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

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