Walk against drone testing passes through Presque Isle

11 years ago

   On Thursday, Oct. 10, the first Maine Drone Peace Walk began in Limestone at the former Loring Air Force Base. From there, peace activists from Maine walked to Caribou. Walks are going to take place throughout the state of Maine until Oct. 19, and peace activists from throughout the state will take part. The walk 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. Walkers will be fed at local churches and stay at local homes.
There has been talk about bringing drones to Maine and making the Presque Isle airport a weaponized drone test center. This is the main reason for starting the walk in Aroostook.
“When the war in Iraq was about to begin, over ten and a half years ago now, a local group got together to organize a ‘bridge for peace’ on the Aroostook river bridge in Presque Isle. Every week since March of 2003, regardless of the weather, local activists have stood on that bridge to demonstrate their opposition to the United States’ acts of war and other acts of institutional violence, including the use of drones to spy on and kill ‘targets,’ including U.S. citizens who have received no due process for their alleged crimes,” said Steve Demaio, an organizer of the event. “We are appalled that there is local interest in the testing of drones, perhaps even weaponized drones, in skies of Aroostook.”
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.
“We’ve got to get the public engaged in this issue if we hope to preserve our constitutional right to privacy and walking across significant parts of the state will help us do just that,” said local organizer of the event Bruce Gagnon.
The walk is being organized by Maine Veterans For Peace and the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. The walk is being held during Keep Space for Peace Week, and is only one of many events that will be held around the world.
“Over these nine days we will hand out flyers and talk to people about the desire of some officials in Maine to bring weaponized drone testing to Aroostook County,” Gagnon said.
This walk is not only for peace activists in Maine. Anyone from the local community who would like to join the walk is more than welcome to attend.
“We are looking forward to being up in Aroostook County and meeting many new folks. This is a huge undertaking but we think necessary to bring the message of non-violence and a better way to create jobs than more warfare,” Gagnon said.
The walk aims to bring awareness to the people of Aroostook County and the state of Maine. Peace activists have worked hard to make this event possible and look forward to playing their part in preserving our privacy.
The schedule of the walk is as follows: Thursday, Oct. 10 — began in Limestone (former Loring AFB) and walked to Caribou; Friday, Oct. 11 — walked to Presque Isle; Saturday, Oct. 12 — drove to Old Town and walked into Bangor; Sunday, Oct. 13 —  walked to Skowhegan (drove some part of the day); Monday, Oct. 14 — walked to Mercer; Tuesday, Oct. 15 — walked to Farmington; Wednesday, Oct. 16 — walk to Waterville (need to shuttle some part of the day); Thursday, Oct. 17 — walk to Belgrade; Friday, Oct. 18 — walk to Augusta (closing ceremony at State Capital Hall of Flags at 3 p.m.; potluck at mediation at Facilitation Resource Center, 11 King St. at 6 p.m.); and concludes Saturday, Oct. 19 — shuttle to Bath and join protest against BIW christening of first stealth destroyer from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m..
All are invited for lunch at Addams-Melman House after.