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Germany: Thousands Surround US Air Base To Protest Drone Use

Over 5,000 Germans formed a 5.5-mile human chain to surround the base.

Demonstrators have formed a human chain near a US air base in western Germany to protest against lethal drone strikes.

The demonstration was organized by the alliance “Stop Ramstein – No Drone War“, which says the Ramstein base relays information between operators in the US and unmanned drone aircraft on missions over Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria and other places.

Organizers said that 5 to 7 thousand people took part in the chain near the Ramstein Air Base, the principal US Air Force facility in Europe, on a rainy Saturday.

Activists, calling for the base to be closed, described their protest as the biggest ever action against the US base, insisting that public support against the drone issue was growing.

Green MP Tabea Rössner warned that US drone attacks were radicalizing people in the Middle East, while peace activist Reiner Braun said, “The chain is not complete but it is a sign! Ramstein needs to be shut down.”

Deutche Welle reported:

Former US drone operator Brandon Bryant first made revelations in “Der Spiegel” magazine in 2013, claiming that Ramstein was a major hub for coordinating Washington’s global drone war, which included targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

He later told a German parliamentary committee that all data from the plane went through Ramstein. However, the drones were not directly steered from the base, he added.

But the German and US governments have repeatedly downplayed the importance of the facility and have evaded direct questions about its role in the drone program.Schermata 2016 06 13 alle 22.41.09

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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