Protest held against RAF Waddington's Afghanistan drone strikes

Campaigners claim the Government are 'using them to fight wars behind our backs'

Campaigners are today planning to march to an RAF base which started flying armed drones over Afghanistan this week.

Members of the Stop The War Coalition, CND, The Drone Campaign Network and War on Want will march from Lincoln to nearby RAF Waddington.

The Air Force began remotely operating Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to Afghanistan from the Lincolnshire airbase earlier this week.

Organisers claim that the drones - previously operated from a US Air Force base in Nevada - increase civilian casualties and make it easier for politicians to launch military interventions.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the RAF said it had begun flying "armed intelligence and surveillance missions" remotely from RAF Waddington.

War on Want senior campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah said: "Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians' decisions to launch military strikes and order extrajudicial assassinations, without democratic oversight or accountability to the public.

"Now is the time to ban killer drones, before it is too late."

Chris Nineham, vice-chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, claimed drones were being used to continue the "deeply unpopular War on Terror" with no public scrutiny, saying: "They're using them to fight wars behind our backs."

The Ministry of Defence claims the use of drones has saved the lives of countless military personnel and civilians.

An MoD spokesman said: "UK Reaper aircraft are piloted by highly trained professional military pilots who adhere strictly to the same laws of armed conflict and are bound by the same clearly defined rules of engagement which apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft."

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