Vigil at Ritidian anticipates start of firing range construction
Eva Aguon Cruz (Photo: Kia Feliciano)
Some 150 opponents of construction of firing ranges at North West Field above the ancient Ritidian village gathered late Sunday afternoon to express themselves, given that military sources have suggested that construction activities will begin in the next few weeks.
They sang and chanted in Sanskrit and Chamorro, addressing long departed ancestors in the area. Others cited lost resources, turtle nesting sites and traditional medicinal plants (amut).
Although the ranges, cited by the military as essential to prepare for the arrival of U.S. Marines under the Guam military buildup, will not directly affect Ritidian, the trajectory of bullets that miss the berms at the cliffline will require closure of the wildlife preserve below when the range is in use and drastically limit access by sight seers and fishermen. Northwest Field also contains large remnants of of limestone forest, which will be bulldozed to make way for the construction
Opponents of the ranges offer a variety of opinions--outright opposition to further U.S. military activity and the contention that existing military ranges on the island could satisfy this training requirement.
A vigorous campaign of opposition to these activities will continue, but no specific plans for the runup to the construction were announced.
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