Members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars are walking from Syracuse to Niagara Falls to make Western New Yorkers aware that the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is now a drone control center similar to the one that's been operating for several years at Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse.
About 40 protesters left the Hancock base last Thursday after holding a rally there and were in the Rochester area earlier this week. A complete schedule of the walkers' route to Niagara Falls can be found at www.upstatedroneaction.org.
The Undrone Upstate Walk will take about two weeks, says Russell Brown, a Vietnam War veteran and march organizer. And the protesters come and go depending on their personal schedules, he says.
"We're finding that people are unaware of it [the drone centers]," Brown says. The MQ-9 Reaper drones are operated by "pilots" who work at computers in offices far from the sites they target in the Middle East and Afghanistan, he says.
The drone attack that hit a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, is a reminder that the precision technology is overhyped, Brown says, and often results in the killing of innocent people.