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A "moon the balloon" protest is planned against a giant balloon equipped with a surveillance camera aimed at Sarnia, Ont., and hovering across the border in Port Huron, Mich.

The protest is the brainchild of Eli Martin, a musician and former teacher, who plans to videotape the event and post it on YouTube. Mr. Martin says "no cheeks will be turned away," adding the dirigible launched last week shows a lack of respect for Canadian sovereignty.

The balloon is shaped like an airplane wing and carries a $1 million camera sensitive enough, U.S. officials say, to read the name of a ship from about 14 kilometres away. Sierra Nevada Corp. is testing it at the St. Clair River boundary and hopes to sell the technology to U.S. Homeland Security.

Mr. Martin said willing participants are invited to Sarnia's Centennial Park on Aug. 15 for a co-ordinated mooning of the aircraft at 5 p.m. He said the U.S. government already has armed ships and helicopters patrolling the border at Sarnia and is preparing to install a series of surveillance towers on the river between Sarnia and Walpole Island.

"Why do they need a camera that can go nine miles?" he asked. "It's redundant, it's potentially invasive, and I don't trust that technology with anybody."

Mr. Martin said Canadians are known for their sense of humour and a "good old touch of mass mooning is the way to deal with this."

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