Hitting the ‘stop button’ on the Afghanistan war

Members of the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective. Photo: Indymedia.org.au

On March 31, a group of Christian peace activists from the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective entered a secretive military base on Swan Island off the coast of Victoria.

Swan Island is a training base for Australia's elite SAS soldiers, who play the most active combat role in Australia’s deployment to Afghanistan.

The activists wanted to shed light on the brutal ongoing occupation and war in Afghanistan. They switched off power to a satellite dish and one sector of the base: a symbolic act to call on the government to “hit the emergency stop button” on the war.

The group was charged with trespass and will face Geelong Magistrates Court on June 16.

The group invites people to join it in a celebration of active resistance to war on that day. Supporters are asked to meet at Johnstone Park opposite Geelong Magistrates court at 9am and then go to the court for a solidarity action.

The Bonhoeffer Peace Collective is encouraging people to join it at the gates of Swan Island, at Queenscliff, immediately after the hearing. This protest will begin at 2pm, in a park opposite Bridge Street, Queenscliff.

This action will coincide with US President Barack Obama's visit to Australia. The May 15 Sydney Morning Herald said Obama will visit Australia in June, addressing parliament on June 18 and then holidaying in Sydney over the weekend.

Obama's role in escalating the war and the Australian government's ongoing military commitment to it will be highlighted at the event. The Bonhoeffer Peace Collective is calling for Australian troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately.

A briefing and non-violent direct action training session will be held on June 5 from 1pm to 4pm at The Den, 116 Little Bourke St Melbourne.

[For more information, email smoyle@gmail.com.]