LAS VEGAS — Anti-drone protesters who said they wanted to spotlight war crimes and connect with pilots were arrested after trying to block the entrance Friday at a US Air Force base in southern Nevada.
More than 100 people were assembled Friday morning outside the Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs near Las Vegas, officials said.
The protesters attempted to block the entrance but the workers were able to come and go during the shift change between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., officials said.
Organizers said protesters stood or laid down on the road in front of the two access gates. Others were stationed along the highway carrying photos and tombs to represent drone warfare victims.
"We consider it highly successful," said Kit Kittredge of the protest she helped organize. "We shut down Creech."
A total of 34 people from the protest were arrested and cited misdemeanor charges. They were released but another person was taken in for an outstanding warrant, according to Las Vegas police.
Base commander Col. Jim Cluff defended the operation in a statement, saying its mission was to provide life-saving intelligence and surveillance.
"The protesters are exercising their Constitutional right to peacefully assemble, which is a right we as members of the United States military are honored to uphold and protect. That being said, the protests have not and will not affect our mission here at Creech," Cluff said.
The protesters said they have been at the site for a week to speak out against remotely piloted aircraft flying armed missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Organizers said the protest drew people and advocacy groups from 18 different states.
Casey Stinemetz of Veterans for Peace said the St. Louis-based organization saw the event as an opportunity to reach out to the "cogs in the machine," such as the pilots and other Creech personnel who carry out drone operations.
"It's a huge opportunity to reach across the line, even if it's just planting a seed in their mind," she said.