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    Wednesday, December 12, 2018-3:41:23P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Protesters rally against proposed military firing range on Guam

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Hundreds of community members rallied Tuesday, calling for the Calvo administration to halt the development of the federal government’s planned live-fire training range.

The grassroots organization Prutehi Litekyan or Save Ritidian organized a peaceful protest at the governor’s complex in Adelup.

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Save Ritidian held a protest march at the governor’s complex in Adelup, Guam on Tuesday.CAPTIOSave Ritidian held a protest march at the governor’s complex in Adelup, Guam on Tuesday.N
Former Sen. Hope Cristobal showed up the Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian protest, holding a sign above her head during a peaceful demonstration in front of the governor’s office on Guam.  Photos by David Castro/The Guam Daily PostFormer Sen. Hope Cristobal showed up the Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian protest, holding a sign above her head during a peaceful demonstration in front of the governor’s office on Guam. Photos by David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Organization members have criticized Gov. Eddie Calvo for remaining silent on the potential destruction of over 1,000 acres of limestone forest that would be condemned as part of a safety zone for the Department of Defense’s live-fire training range.

“Where is Calvo? Where is the lt. governor?” the participants shouted as they marched around the complex, eventually garnering the attention of Calvo’s chief of staff, Mark Calvo, who then met with organizers from Prutehi Litekyan and descendants of the original landowners.

In July, members of the group met with the governor at Adelup to discuss the severity of the firing range’s effects on the island’s ecosystem. But the group said Adelup has been silent since.

Support for the group has grown exponentially this past summer.

A public petition calling for representation by local leaders that was launched earlier this month has gotten nearly 5,000 signatures.

Prutehi Litekyan has also gained a following with community members not usually involved in environmental activism.

“I came here because I’m not familiar with the topic, but I want to know more,” said Laura Caser, a Guam Community College student assigned to write a research paper for a literature class. “This issue is dear to me. It touches home. This is my island, why wouldn’t I want to protect it?”

Another individual, Luke Tedtaotao, said his stance on the buildup has changed over the past few months.

“I continue to learn and grow in support of these movements. Before, I would ask, ‘Why are my people fighting for decolonization. Why don’t they want the buildup?’ As a teacher, I’m always encouraging my students to learn more about our history to understand our current situation,” Tedtaotao said.

“I’m a CHamoru first and an American second. We’re not just a ‘strategic location,’ and it’s time that our rights are recognized.”