World Can’t Wait Protests Obama’s Drone Wars, Challenges the Lesser of 2 Evils Argument at the DNC

12stepsatCharlotteDNCBy Jill McLaughlin

On Sunday September 2nd the World Can’t Wait hit the streets of Charlotte, NC. A small but determined crew participated in the March On Wall Street South. World Can’t Wait was there to protest Obama’s drone wars and challenge the “lesser of two evils” argument.

The crew of activists had a drone replica which they wheeled through the streets of Charlotte. The drone replica drew much attention, press, and conversation. The activists chanted “When Drones Fly, Children Die!” and “Obama, Romney All the Same, No More War Crimes in Our Name!” For a time a group of young people marched along with the World Can’t Wait crew and on the spot came up with the chant “Drone Strikes Are War Crimes, Obama Should Do Prison Time!”

At one point the protesters were waiting to proceed with the march and a World Can’t Wait activist began to agitate to the delegates to the DNC and residents of Charlotte gathered on the side walk about the grim realities of Obama’s drone wars for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It was during this point that the 12 Steps to Overcoming the Addiction to Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils was read to the crowd of an enlarged copy which had also drawn much attention through out the day.

Tuesday, World Can't Wait joined with others from Vets for Peace and Occupiers from around the country to stage an unpermitted march to Free Bradley Manning and End the Wars. Energetic, impassioned, and outraged by the restrictions on free movement (and thus free speech) in downtown Charlotte, people gathered at the newly formed Occupy encampment and marched until stopped by lines of police. World Can't Wait brought out the drone again, added a visual element to the march that many felt was almost too creepy to endure... disturbed and disgusted by the hidden though horrific reality of flying death robots. St. Pete for Peace brought an illustrated anti-drone banner which completed the story of drones with images of some of the children who have been killed in these bombings. 

In Chicago, protesters also gathered Tuesday to "Reject President 1% and End Obama's Wars on the World's 99%," also bringing a replica drone to the streets of downtown:

drone in Chicago

Here is Elaine Brower just before World Can’t Wait marches talking about why we were there:

Protesting Obama Drones at DNC

Protesting Obama Drones at DNC

Some media coverage of the Sunday action:


Al Jazeera English:

Democracy Now:

World Can't Wait protesting drones on Democracy Now

The Associated Press article (reprinted in 70+ local papers) included this line:

Some 800 demonstrators marched through the streets of Charlotte around the convention hall, protesting what they call corporate greed as well as U.S. drone strikes overseas, said to kill children as well as terrorists.

From the LA Times:

Some groups got creative, with one fashioning a relatively large facsimile of a military drone. Most supported causes to the left though more than a few of the marchers took jabs at President Obama, with signs like, “Arrest the War Criminal Obama” and “Obama Murders Children with Drones.”

Elaine Brower was interviewed by Euronews:

Elaine Brower on Obama's Drone War Crime

Photos from

Protesting Obama Drones at DNC

Protesting Obama's Drones at DNC

Some media coverage of the Tuesday action:

NY Times blog

About 200 protesters began the march, with tensions quickly rising when the police formed a barricade in the middle of an intersection a few blocks from the convention site. Hundreds of police officers surrounded the protesters, and John Rhodes Penley, 60, of Asheville, N.C., was arrested when he tried to climb over a police bicycle being used to block the demonstration. He was charged with breaching a police line and barricade.

Mr. Penley, who said he was a Navy veteran, had been carrying an American flag at the front of the protest.

“We want Bradley Manning freed,” Mr. Penley said as he was handcuffed, a reference to the Army intelligence analyst charged with disclosing more than 260,000 diplomatic cables, many of them classified, in an inquiry into the WikiLeaks disclosures.

A nearly two-hour standoff between protesters and police ended shortly before 3 p.m., as police allowed about 100 demonstrators to walk up the sidewalk toward the Convention Center and into the heart of uptown.

“Obama is a war criminal,” protesters yelled at DNC delegates on the Convention Center steps.

“Four more years,” Obama supporters responded. Many looked surprised and confused as marchers shouted expletives and chanted, “Drone strikes are war crimes, give Obama prison time.”
The protesters, some of them war veterans, spoke out on a variety of issues and called for the release of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army soldier suspected of leaking classified information to the website WikiLeaks.
The standoff between police and protesters was about a block from the Charlotte Convention Center, where thousands of members of the press have gathered.

The Olympian:

Just five blocks from Time Warner Cable Arena, where delegates are meeting this week, protesters took over an intersection for about two hours, attracting hundreds of police officers who swooped in to surround them and try to funnel them to more secure areas.

Officers took at least 14 people away in handcuffs in what was the most vigorous day of protests since both parties began meeting to formally nominate their presidential candidates. Republicans gathered last week in Tampa, where just two people were arrested by the end of the three-day affair.

Ten of those arrested Tuesday identified themselves as illegal immigrants who were protesting in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

Real Clear Politics:

Tuesday's demonstration started when a half dozen veterans protesting the incarceration of a soldier accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks were joined in an unauthorized march by dozens of members of the Occupy movement.

About 50 protesters disrupted traffic by sitting down in the middle of the intersection. Officers in riot gear warned them to disperse or be arrested.

The impasse ended after two protesters spoke to the Charlotte police chief and said they were told they could continue to walk as a group on public sidewalks. They then continued past the city's convention center, which is hosting some convention-related activities for delegates. The facility several blocks from the arena is also where most media are staged.
A protester who tried to cross the barricade was put in handcuffs by officers. Earlier in the march, the protester had identified himself to a reporter as John Penley and said he was a military veteran.

Penley, of Asheville, said he and the other former service members wanted to raise awareness of veterans' issues and talk to delegates. They were also protesting the incarceration of a soldier accused of giving classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, Pfc. Bradley Manning, chanting: "Free Bradley, arrest Barack."

Drones Kill Kids

Protesting drones at DNC 2012

Protesting to free Bradley Manning at DNC 2012

Main Reports on Protest & Resistance World Can’t Wait Protests Obama’s Drone Wars, Challenges the Lesser of 2 Evils Argument at the DNC


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.