Occupy movement targets business manufacturing drones
For this group of demonstrators, it's like a scene out of a George Orwell novel.
"It's very 1984, very Big Brother sounding," said Brandon Long, of Occupy Cedar Valley.
Dozens of Occupy activists came together outside the Cherry building in Cedar Rapids to protest AirCover Integrated Solutions' move into the building.
Activists say AirCover's unmanned aerial cameras are infringing on law-abiding citizens constitutional rights.
"The principal of having an unmanned drone watching you on the street corner is terrifying," Long said.
Company owner Jim Hill disagrees. He says these cameras will be used from everything from monitoring the direction of large forest fires to keeping an eye on levees during an impending flood.
He says the cameras would reduce costs and increase productivity for those in the business of ensuring public safety.
"Our mission is life saving which is rescue, determining where someone is in a stranded condition," Hill said.
The Cherry building - home to around 40 other small businesses- was holding an open house at the time of the demonstration.
Many small business owners there say the occupy protests were hurting business- turning away customers.
"If these people are about the 99 versus 1 percent, there's lots of small business owners in this building that are having a difficult time because these people are out front," said Doug Wagner, whose wife owns a shop in the building.
Demonstrators are circulating a petition hoping to rally opposition against the AirCover.
Whether the group's collective voice represents the concerns of the vast majority remains to be seen.
Leslie Hospitality owner Edwin Leslie says he doesn't have anything to hide, and to prove it he invited the public to view all of the documents, emails, agreements, and financial statements related to the deal at a public meeting this morning.