August 16, 2009

Few show up to ‘moon the balloon’

Moon-the-balloon in Ontario was something of a bust, with only 200 Canadians showing up to drop their trousers to protest a U.S. surveillance balloon.

And the balloon was a no-show.

The balloon, which has been hovering over Sarnia of late, is being flown by Sierra Nevada, a company seeking a U.S. Homeland Security contract for a high-resolution camera the balloon has been carrying.

The protest's organizer, Adam Bush, had predicted a turnout of at least 1,000, The Port Huron Times-Herald reported. But only around 500 came to Sarnia late Saturday afternoon, and fewer than half were willing to bare their butts.

Bush said the protesters got their message across even though the camera, said to be able to read the name of a ship from a distance of 9 miles, was not flying to film the bare backsides.

It's irrelevant. They said they weren't going to fly it today anyway, Bush said. They still heard our message long before the protest even took place.

Some critics accused Bush of trivializing the issue and turning concerns about privacy into a joke.