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Demonstrators protest in San Diego against use of drones

April 06, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • San Diego Police Sgt. Dan Sayasane looks on in La Jolla as a small drone lands in the hand of anti-drone protester Medea Benjamin.
San Diego Police Sgt. Dan Sayasane looks on in La Jolla as a small drone lands… (Howard Lipin / U-T San Diego )

Several dozen demonstrators led by CodePink activists were in downtown San Diego on Saturday to protest the use by the U.S. of unmanned drones to conduct surveillance and air strikes.

On a patch of public property adjacent to the carrier Midway museum, demonstrators read the names of teenage civilians purportedly killed in Yemen and Pakistan by drone air strikes.

Among the protest signs were those reading "Made locally, Killing globally" and "Drones Kill Children."

"San Diego is ground-zero for the production of these lethal weapons that are killing innocent people and making the U.S. hated around the world," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."

The San Diego region has more than 7,100 people employed in the production of unmanned aerial systems, including at General Atomics and Northrop Grumman.

On Friday, protesters, with a miniature drone as a prop, demonstrated in front of the La Jolla home of Neal Blue, chief executive of General Atomics.

In advance of that demonstration, General Atomics issued a statement noting that it "manufactures remotely piloted aircraft systems, which protect our troops and support national security.

"GA is honored that it can contribute in this way while at the same time recognizing the right to demonstrate."

General Atomics produces the Predator and Reaper drones that can be armed with missiles.

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