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Protest Travis AFB: Global Day of Action on Military Spending

April 12, 2011
Bay Area CODEPINK
Travis AFB, NV


We joined the other protesters at Travis Air Force Base at 6:30 in the morning.

It was bitter cold due to a persistent wind.

There was a steady flow of traffic for the morning commute into the base.

Our signage was met with (mostly) good responses: thumbs up, peace signs, …
These are actions we’ve been having at various bases for quite some time now.
But this day’s protest was especially significant because of all the others around the world who were sharing the same message: STOP FUNDING WAR

We were part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, with 35 countries
participating: http://demilitarize.org/event-reports/

Our banners included:
-MONEY FOR HUMAN NEED, NOT WAR AND GREED
-BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME
Flyers were distributed, educating military about the obscene economic and social costs of excessive military spending. TV media, Ch. 40 & 13, filmed, including live press.


The officer who we’d seen in previous trips seemed especially irritable this day.

He tried to confiscate some of our signage as litter, yanked several banners down, and gave one of us a ticket for “impeding traffic”. The same officer had been pretty cool at our first visit to Travis, telling us where we could go for a hike around a lake for our mid day break between commutes. But it seems that he’d been harassed by the military, and was passing the harassment onto us. The military has a real problem with us spreading the truth in the form of flyers to soldiers who would roll down their car windows. The boundary of the base seems to be an ever changing line. Our protest was not permitted within base property. No one seemed to know where the base property started. We’d surely be subject to arrest if we crossed that line (what line?).

Midday

Because of the harsh treatment we were given by Officer Carella, we decided to visit the police department in Fairfield, and register a complaint. We want and need to have a decent working relationship with Fairfield Police. Getting our messages to soldiers is our top priority. And, if this is prevented by the local police, our job is extremely difficult. We were told to wait a little while to speak with Officer Carella’s supervisor, Captain Darrin Moody.

Captain Moody was most cordial and stressed that he too wanted to have a good relationship with us. He affirmed our right to be there. The boundary of the base seems to be an ever changing line. Our protest was not permitted within base property. No one seemed to know where the base property started. We’d surely be subject to arrest if we crossed that line (what line?).

Though we really didn’t resolve anything, Captain Moody spent a fair a mount of time talking with us and letting us know that he was listening.

After our visit to the police station, we returned to hike around the lake that we discovered when we were at Travis AFB in February. The walk in nature was a welcome respite from our confrontations of the morning.

Afternoon

We went back to the base for our 3-5:00 protest. It was still windy, making holding signs and banners a challenge. Martha and Eleanor held signs and banners while Toby distributed flyers from the divider at the intersection where military exit. Two young and polite military police arrived and told Toby she was on base property and would have to leave. Toby stood up for her rights and questioned whether it was base property. (What line?) Soon a third military officer, with higher authority, arrived and gave Toby the same orders. Toby still stood her ground. The three drew back and conversed privately. They approached again and declared that base property was about 20 feet back from where Toby was standing, and that as long as she didn’t cross over the newly grooved line made in the roadway, she was off base property. (Construction crew were beginning to work on a new entrance gate that was soon to be installed…why?) Again, as in previous actions, the base line is constantly changing.

In spite of harassment, we managed to pass out over 80 flyers throughout the day. Notably, a greater number of female military accepted the flyers from us this time. Maybe they are getting used to our presence and don’t feel so threatened. We only hope that they take note of the SWAN link listed on our flyer, an organization that provides help to victims of military sexual assault and harassment. All in all, it was a very successful day at Travis, in spite of interruptions by “authority”.

Toby attended a SF Veterans for Peace meeting later that night and gave a brief pitch to encourage participation in the Base Actions Campaign. There was considerable interest and support from Mike Wong and Bill Schwab. Thank you to SF VFP for giving us a chance to speak. We hope you’ll join us at future base actions soon!

PHOTOS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/codepinkalert/sets/72157626528377072/show/