People in Germany have staged an annual anti-war protest rally in front of a United States air base in their country, condemning war-mongering.
Demonstrators on Saturday formed a human chain in the Ramstein-Miesenbach municipality stretching to outside Gate 5 of the American air base there.
The organizers of Stop Air Base Ramstein said as many as 5,000 protesters attended the rally.
They demanded an end to the use of the air base to relay telemetry to drones that collect information on militant groups or attack designated targets. The protesters said the attacks on suspected militants were “extrajudicial killings” and violated international law.
The human chain wrapped up a week of protests in the area.
The protesters who rallied on Saturday were joined by left-wing politician Oskar Lafontaine, the former head of Germany’s Left Party. He denounced German involvement in conflicts, role in the Iraq War, and the expansion of nuclear armaments.
“So long as we live in a system which requires military equipment and warmongering, the economic order on which capitalism is reliant, the world will edge closer to destruction,” Lafontaine told the protesters. “Nuclear weapons are not weapons. They are monsters and we need to chase them away from this planet.”
The Ramstein Air Base is host to 22,000 US military and Department of Defense personnel. Family members included, the number reaches 54,000. It is the largest concentration of US citizens outside of the US.
Ramstein Air Base is also the headquarters of NATO’s Air and Space program (AIRCOM).
The satellite relay stations at Ramstein transmit radio signals to and from drone pilots operating at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, USA, and satellites positioned above the Indian Ocean, thus allowing them to strike targets in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia by way of drones, according to whistle-blower former US drone operator Brandon Bryant.
Germans have for decades been holding annual marches, calling for the shutdown of the US base, which was constructed by Western allied forces after World War II and is said to be storing nuclear missiles and chemical weapons.
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