Ben Cohen, the “Ben” part of Ben & Jerry’s, was arrested on Saturday after he and two other activists drove a truck through downtown Burlington, Vermont, blasting jet noises in protest of a plan to host 18 F-35s at Burlington International Airport. According to NBC5, they blasted the simulated jet noises 13 times before Cohen was put in handcuffs.
The F-35 is a troubled program, with a long history of cost overruns and delays, though President Trump likes it. In Vermont, the plan to base the F-35s at the airport has been controversial with many residents, over noise and other considerations. Cohen is among the disgruntled residents, and had no regrets about Saturday’s protest, which took place ahead of a ballot measure on Tuesday that asks Burlington residents whether their city council should request that the F-35s be put elsewhere.
The Burlington Free Press explains that police gave Cohen and the protesters a few chances before breaking out the cuffs.
Burlington’s noise ordinances say that tickets should be issued for the first two violations and allow for an arrest on the third. Sullivan said police were able to obtain witness statements about the first two incidents and witnessed the third personally.
The three activists would be issued citations to appear in court and released this afternoon, [Lt. Matthew Sullivan] said.
The F-35s are currently slated to arrive some time next year, and the Vermont Air National Guard says they have no plans to change that, having already invested some $83 million in preparation for the planes’ arrival.
Cohen said Saturday that the people complaining about his jet noise simulation was, in fact, the intended outcome.
“Of course, that’s exactly the point,” he said.