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Drone Protestors Sent To Prison

Paki Wieland
Paki Wieland

A well-known peace activist from western Massachusetts is in prison in New York after being found guilty last week of disorderly conduct for a protest at an air base outside of Syracuse.

   Paki Weiland of Northampton was one of a dozen protestors sentenced to 15 days in prison. The group was arrested at the Hancock Air Base in October 2012. They were protesting the use of drones operated from the base in the war in Afghanistan.  Jeff Napolitano of the American Friends Service Committee said Weiland has been trying to raise public awareness about the drone issue.

" Their going to prison is another forum in which the public at large understands there are people in communities who are concerned and have a conscience about what is going on."

   Dewitt Town Justice David Gideon, who sentenced the protestors Friday evening, said he had to send a resounding message to stop the protests.  According to the Post Standard of Syracuse, the judge said he was concerned over the possibility of a violent confrontation outside the base.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.