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Germans in Ramstein protest against US drone operations

A picture taken on January 17, 2016 shows the logo at the entrance of the US Air base in Ramstein, Germany. (AFP Photo)

Demonstrators outside an American air base in Germany’s Ramstein have staged a protest against US drone operations.

The demonstrators formed a human chain along the perimeter of the US Air Force Base Saturday. They said the base in Ramstein serves as the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe and transmits data to or from drone operators located at bases on the US soil as well as killer drones operating over countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

The "Stop Ramstein, No Drone War" alliance, which organized the demonstration, said allowing data for drone deployments to be routed through Ramstein goes against the German Constitution and they demand that the US base's satellite relay station be shut down.

"I think it is important to send a message against all forms of military intervention, particularly when it comes from German soil. If politicians won't do anything, as citizens we see it as our duty to be present and show that we do not want this," said a protester.

Activists attend an anti-drone protest along the perimeters of the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, on June 11, 2016. (AFP Photo)

About 15 years ago a US drone first fired missiles in combat and the US military program has expanded its use of drones since then to become an everyday part of its military apparatus for carrying out surveillance operations and assassination strikes.

Last month, US President Barack Obama approved a deadly drone strike in a remote area of Pakistan that resulted in the death of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

However, critics say drone strikes often miss their intended targets and kill civilians instead, mostly women and children. This is because data sent by drones can only partly relay what is really happening on the ground to drone operators sitting at computer screens far from danger.

Civilian victims are paying the price for the mistakes made by drone operators.

The United Nations has condemned the use of killer drones for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.


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