The Baltimore Nonviolence Center
325 E. 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 Ph: 410-323-1607
CONTACT: Max Obuszewski 410-323-1607 or 727-256-5789 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net
Montgomery County Police refuse to act on complaint that Lockheed Martin is killing children in Yemen.
PRESS RELEASE-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2018
WHO: Several peace and justice groups are infuriated by the U.S. role in supporting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate, as these countries wage war on the people of Yemen. So the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, Code Pink, Peace Action Montgomery County, Prince George's Peace and Justice Coalition and Peace Action Baltimore decided to call for a protest at Lockheed Martin’s headquarters, as its bombs are killing Yemeni children.
WHAT: About 25 advocates, including children, mothers, fathers, and grandparents, focused on this military contractor as its weapons are sold and used by many repressive regimes. Initially, Montgomery County Police informed the group they could not demonstrate outside the main gate because of a complaint received from Lockheed’s security director.
The police were then informed that they swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and that the group was simply exercising its First Amendment right to challenge a corporation which gets tax breaks from Montgomery County and weapons contracts from the federal government which total 97% of its sales. Also the activists indicated to the police that they wanted to issue a complaint against the weapons maker, as its weapons are killing civilians in Yemen. An officer indicated he would call the security director for a response.
Then a small group of citizens tried to approach the guard station to present a letter signed by rally participants explaining why the group gathered outside the company headquarters. The police immediately prevented that from happening. However, after some negotiations, a police officer did deliver the letter to a security official.
Eventually, more police arrived and the group was informed if anyone were to stand on the road, they would be subject to arrest. The police commander was asked if she intended on following up on the complaint from the group. She responded that such a complaint was outside of their jurisdiction. The protesters were told to instead contact a Congressperson.
WHEN: Monday, September 3 at 3:30 PM
WHERE: Lockheed Martin, 6801 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817
WHY: Below, a Yemeni child holds a fragment of a MK-82 bomb manufactured by Lockheed Martin, according to CNN, which hit a school bus on August 9 killing 34 children, four teachers and 12 others. Seventy eight people were wounded, including 55 students. The Nuremberg Tribunals taught us that when a government or a corporation is involved in war crimes, citizens must speak out.
What unfolded on Labor Day outside Lockheed Martin is a microcosm of what is wrong with the priorities in this country. First, the police challenged peaceful protesters because of a complaint from the weapons contractor’s security director and tried to move the group away from an area near the Lockheed Martin sign. A moral victory was achieved as the group refused to move from this area.
While the police would not allow the peace activists to deliver a letter condemning Lockheed’s involvement in the slaughter of civilians in Yemen, another moral victory was achieved, as an officer delivered the letter. However, our complaint was disregarded, and Lockheed Martin will continue to manufacture bombs which will cause more death and destruction.
Of course, this can only happen as Congress is unwilling to stop the selling of weapons to human rights abusers. And of course, there is a direct connection between campaign contributions from weapons manufacturers to subservient members of Congress who then do the bidding of their donors.
These citizen activists will continue to engage members of Congress on issues of U.S. involvement in an awful war, sales of destructive weapons to known human rights violators and the need for campaign finance reform. Also, rally participants pledged to continue to challenge Lockheed Martin and to encourage others to get involved.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs
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