Anti-drone protesters return to RAF Waddington, a year after breaking onto base

A year after protesters broke onto RAF Waddington, causing an hour-long lockdown, groups returned to voice their opposition to the use of unmanned drones.

As reported previously, campaigners were handed fines of just over £300 and given conditional discharge at Lincoln Magistrates Court after they used bolt cutters to break through the fence of the base, armed with anti-drone leaflets.

Some of the protesters, from the End the Drone Wars group, were joined by demonstrators from across the country in returning on January 5 to reinforce their message.

Demonstrators at the base on January 5, 2016. Photo: The Lincolnite

Demonstrators at the base on January 5, 2016. Photo: The Lincolnite

Christopher Cole, from Oxford, was among those arrested for breaking onto the base in 2015.

He said: “We will be coming to RAF Waddington to protest four or five times a year. The use of drones is becoming more and more normalised and we want to remind people that this is going on.

“The main problem is that they make it too easy to go to war. War should be the last resort. Each and every day strikes are happening from this base and it’s important that we make people aware that war is a bad thing and it should be easy.

“We need to solve the underlying political problems. It’s not a game of whack-a-mole with terrorists, it’s undermining long-term counter-terrorism strategies.

“I don’t regret what happened last year. I think it’s right that people try to disrupt.

“It’s not for everybody, but we have to raise awareness and try to stop what’s happening. This isn’t a solution, it’s part of the problem.”

RAF Waddington is the UK base for Reaper Ground Control Station, which pilots unmanned drones across the globe.

The station has recently been involved in missions in Syria and Iraq, the Ministry of Defence confirming operations over the Christmas period successfully hit Dash terrorist targets.

Martin Newell, from Birmingham, who also protested at the base a year ago, added: “Bombing never won a war I don’t think. It’s only going to make it worse. For every so-called militant that we kill, there will be another one popping up.

“Terrorism is solved by political solutions.”

Demonstrators gathered at the base throughout 2015, met at points by opposition protests hosted by local members of the English Defence League (EDL).

The event on January 5 is the first in a list of demonstrations planned at the base throughout 2016.