Rallies against war production
By Sean Lennon
MELBOURNE — Several demonstrations have been held as part of a week of activities around the "airshow" at Avalon Airport on Melbourne's outskirts. The demonstrations have highlighted the fact that a large part of the airshow is devoted to selling warplanes and other military equipment.
Demonstrations occurred on every day of the airshow, which opened on October 21, and protesters set up peace stalls outside the front gates. On October 23, nine people were arrested for trying to block the road to Avalon Airport.
Protests were also organised in Melbourne. On October 22 a picket was held outside the World Congress Centre, where the Regional Air Power Conference was being held. Demonstrators managed to get into the Foreign Affairs department in the nearby World Trade Centre building.
On October 23 a rally was held outside the US consulate to protest against the US and Australian support for various repressive regimes all over the world. Representatives of some of these regimes, such the Suharto government of Indonesia, had been invited to the airshow by the Australian government.
According to one speaker, every US bomber used against Iraq in the Gulf War had some components made in Australia.In fact, according to information released to the US Congress, the United States is Australia's biggest customer when it comes to war-related sales.
The demonstrators then marched to the Indonesian consulate, where an East Timorese spoke on the upcoming anniversary of the Dili massacre. He told the crowd that the Indonesian army, fearful of demonstrations, has begun rounding up young East Timorese. Many people have disappeared.
At the Defence Centre, street theatre highlighted the Australian-assisted war against Bougainville.