The Swan Island Military Base in Queenscliff will be targeted for a week of blockades and disruptive action as part of the annual Swan Island Peace Convergence. The act of resistance will be held September 23rd – 27th, and aims to hinder Australia’s continued military involvement in Afghanistan, demanding all troops to come home.
Reverend Simon Moyle, one of the event organisers, visited Afghanistan last year. He explained the reasons for the convergence by saying:
“The Australian Government wants the public to think that our involvement in Afghanistan ends with the withdrawal of Australian troops by 2014. This is not true. Gillard has said that Australian Special Forces will continue their deadly occupation of Afghanistan until the end of the decade at least. We’re saying that if they want to do that, they’ll have to go through us.”
“Australia’s alliance with the U.S. has dragged us into two disastrous wars in the last decade and is fuelling rising tension in the Asia Pacific. Australia needs to end the ANZUS alliance and develop cooperative relationships in our region”
Jess Morrison, a member of the convergence who works as a university lecturer, explains the group’s philosophy:
“We plan our protest with nonviolence at the core. This helps keep the event safe, and ensures we focus on the political change we want, not on the individual police or soldiers.”
“The last decade of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan has fuelled fundamentalism and armed resistance. We listen to the voices of Afghan people who have had enough guns and bombs, of foreign soldiers breaking down their doors, and of war destabilising their country. We believe that all troops, including the SAS troops trained here in Swan Island, need to come home now and allow Afghans to start rebuilding their own country.”
The Swan Island Military Base is home to the secretive SAS unit SAS 4 as well as the ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service).
Last year’s event resulted in ten arrests. A larger turnout and more extensive blockade of the base are planned this year.