March against unmanned military aircraft heads for Lincoln
A peace walk against the use of drones in Afghanistan will end in Lincoln today, after travelling across the East Midlands.
The walk began from the site of UK Drone manufacture, UAV Engines in Shenstone, Staffordshire and has travelled almost 100 miles over 8 days.
Protesters are heading for RAF Waddington, as the airbase will be used to remotely control British drones in Afghanistan, which were previously controlled from a base in Nevada in America.
Numbers have varied throughout the week as people join the peace walk for days or just hours at a time.
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During their journey the walkers have been sleeping in Methodist Churches or staying with members of the public who have agreed to shelter them.
The Campaign for Military Disarmament are behind the action, coinciding with the Drones Week of Action, including a march of thousands in Pakistan agains US drone strikes.
The aircraft – remotely controlled by pilots on the ground – are used for surveillance and armed with 500lb laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.
Crews from 39 Squadron, which has its headquarters at RAF Waddington, have been piloting drones from a base in Nevada, USA, for several years.
No 13 (Reaper) Squadron is expected to become operational at the base in November this year, which means the planes will be controlled from the UK for the first time.
Ministry of Defence spokesman Suzanna Brookner said: "The MoD only operates its unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan to support UK and coalition forces.
"Reaper is the only remotely piloted aircraft that is armed.
"The vast majority of unmanned aircraft flying is surveillance and reconnaissance in support of our front-line troops."