Misdemeanor counts dropped against anti-drone activists

Toby Blome strikes a drum during a protest against drone warfare held at the entrance of Creech Air Force Base Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Indian Springs, Nev. Members of the group CodePink have been protesting at the base, where drone pilots operate, since Monday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Toby Blome strikes a drum during a protest against drone warfare held at the entrance of Creech Air Force Base Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Indian Springs, Nev. Members of the group CodePink have been protesting at the base, where drone pilots operate, since Monday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Trespassing and blocking traffic charges were dropped Wednesday in Las Vegas against the last of more than 30 anti-drone protesters arrested nearly eight months ago at an entrance of a U.S. Air Force base.

The dismissals by Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa followed a Monday trial during which she said she didn’t hear evidence proving that orders to disperse were properly made before demonstrators were arrested and cited March 6 at the Creech Air Force Base gate.

With the collapse of the misdemeanor case against Jerome Zawada, prosecutors asked for domino-effect dismissals of 13 other cases alleging misdemeanor trespassing and blocking traffic.

“Thank you for your kindness,” Robert Majors, a Catholic worker from Las Vegas, told the judge.

More than 20 protesters and supporters were in the courtroom to mark the end of the case. Other protest arrestees pleaded no contest June 30 or entered conditional plea deals to have their charges dismissed.

An organizer, Barry Binks, said at the courthouse that the demonstrations would continue, to draw attention to what the advocates feel are illegal actions by the U.S. government halfway around world. He promised another protest next spring.

Small groups of demonstrators gathered Wednesday outside the courthouse before the hearing and spent a third day outside the gate of Creech air base in Indian Springs, about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Toby Blome, an organizer for the group CodePink Women for Peace, said she hoped military members at the base would rethink their involvement in guiding deadly drones in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

“I wouldn’t want another government to decide a human being in this country should be executed or not,” Blome said. “No country should have that power.”

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