BY MARTIN ILTIS
LONDON Australians Against the War (AATW) held its first formal meeting on March 30, attended by about 20 Australians living in London. The meeting flowed from the group's prominent participation in the 500,000-strong anti-war march on March 22.
The very fruitful meeting brought together a range of expats who are committed to opposing the Australian government's part in the US-British war of conquest against Iraq. The meeting agreed to organise protest actions and reach out to the Australian community in London.
Australians Against the War banners will be carried in the Stop the War Coalition's local London rally on April 5, which will march to the US embassy.
However, a major effort is being made to build the national April 12 rally in London. AATW member Julian Coppens told Green Left Weekly: We hope to have a large Australian contingent at the April 12 rally. We are organising a press release for the Australian publications in London, as well posters and leaflets to be distributed at London venues that are popular with Australians.
The other major action being organised by AATW is a die-in at Australia House to mark ANZAC day. The action will actually take place on April 24 in an attempt to gain coverage in the Australian media on April 25.
According to Coppens, it is important to target the Australian High Commission as it is the most potent symbol of the Australian government here. The idea of a 'die-in' is not to show disrespect to soldiers who have died in previous wars. Rather, it is to highlight the callous disrespect that the Australian government has for Australian soldiers who may be killed in the Iraq war and for the hundreds of Iraqis who are dying in this criminal war. We're aware of the massive demonstrations against the war that taking place in Australia and our message to John Howard is: we mightn't be at home, but we also vehemently oppose your evil war!
[Australians resident in Britain or Scotland are urged to contact Australians Against the War at <email@example.com>.]
From Green Left Weekly, April 9, 2003.
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