4 cited at Creech Air Force Base in peace week protest

Four people were cited Monday for blocking a road leading to Creech Air Force Base to protest overseas drone warfare operations that are conducted from the base at Indian Springs, 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, protest organizers said.

The peaceful, 30-minute demonstration as Creech workers arrived was sponsored by the faith-based Nevada Desert Experience. It involved nine protesters who were praying for nonviolence and social justice to mark the United Nations’ international week of peace.

Las Vegas police warned the group not to block the road. The four who didn’t heed the warning — Evy Hubb, Dennis Duvall, Susan Dillon and Kelley Kolberg — were cited, released and ordered to appear for arraignment Nov. 3 in a Clark County court, said the group’s spokesman, Marcus Page-Collonge.

After the protesters blocked the base’s southeast access road, “police blocked it further and redirected traffic to the other gate, and the Creech Air Force folks closed the gate behind the blockade,” he told the Review-Journal.

The 432nd Wing commander at Creech, Col. Jim Cluff, released a statement after the protest, saying, “The citizens outside our gate are exercising their constitutional right to peacefully assemble, which is a right that is guaranteed to all Americans.”

“This is a right we as members of the United States military serve to uphold and protect. As long as they are being safe and nonviolent, we don’t have any problem with them protesting,” Cluff said.

Creech is a hub for remotely piloted MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper operations in which pilots and sensor operators in ground stations control the unmanned spy planes as they gather reconnaissance with high-tech video and infrared cameras.

Signals that control the planes over conflict areas and terrorist holdouts thousands of miles away are transmitted via satelliete links to ground stations at Creech and other U.S. locations, where airstrikes are triggered involving laser-guided Hellfire missiles and smart bombs in the case of the larger Reaper aircraft.

Monday’s civil disobedience action followed a similar one Sunday at the Nevada National Security Site, where 11 demonstrators were cited and released on trespass charges for crossing a line on the road that leads to the government town of Mercury at the site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Contact Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308. Find him on Twitter: @KeithRogers2.

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