RAMSTEIN, Germany — Draped in rainbow peace flags and huddling under umbrellas, thousands of protesters converged in the rain June 11 outside Ramstein Air Base to demand the facility end its alleged support of U.S. drone operations.
The rally, organized by the Berlin-based nongovernmental alliance "Stopp Ramstein – No Drone War," drew Germans from communities hundreds of miles away and was backed by dozens of peace organizations from the United States and abroad.
Some demonstrators beat drums, some walked barefoot, some rode bikes hoisting anti-war posters. There were songs, guitar music and speeches.
Organizers anticipated that about 5,000 people would show up. But German police estimated the crowd at about 2,000, attributing the smaller turnout to the rain.
Whatever the final tally, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, one of the rally’s featured speakers, was impressed by the turnout.
"I’m very, very enthusiastic that all these people were willing to come out on a day like this to show how seriously they look at matters of war and peace," he said, moments before taking the stage, rigged on the back of a small truck parked by the traffic circle outside the west gate.