Final day’s arrests

Media Release

8 July 2011 – for immediate release

Peace week culminates in arrests and meditations

Swan Island Peace Convergence – Queenscliff

A week of protest at the top-secret military base of Swan island has ended with a blockade lit with 400 candles representing deaths in Afghanistan and more arrests as protesters breached police lines.

The convergence in Queenscliff has continued all week to protest the unnecessary and ineffective war in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the role that the top-secret Swan Island base plays in the war. The war is now into its tenth year – as long as Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.

The morning began with the road being blocked with hundreds of candles lit to remember the 28 Australian soldiers and the countless innocent Afghan lives lost in this tragic conflict. The group attended and held a silent vigil for all those affected by the suffering and prayed for peace to emerge.

Shortly afterwards two activists were able to scale the fence surrounding the bridge leading to the island and unfurled a peace banner. Police were unable reach the two who got onto the bridge to stop passing cars, then were arrested and charged with trespass. These two were Baptist pastor Simon Moyle (34), and university lecturer Jessica Morrison (35).  They are due to face Geelong Magistrates Court on 27 July.

Both protesters have recently visited Afghanistan and seen first-hand the human suffering and pain caused by the war. Rev. Moyle stated,

For too many years powerful interests have fought over power in Afghanistan at the expense of its people. War has not liberated them; it has only created more grief. Now is the time to listen to Afghan voices asking us: ‘Why not love? Why not peace?'”

Ms Morrison added,

“People in Afghanistan that I met with were clear that foreign troops are funding and fueling terrorism by their presence, and must withdraw. Afghan citizens need to be able to lead the recovery of their country.”

The convergence continues to call for the Australian government to listen to the will of the Australian people, who overwhelmingly support a withdrawal of our troops from this needless war. The group has also indicated that their activism will continue in a variety of ways until this happens.

Photos and video footage of arrests and the blockade available on request.

Photos also available at www.swanislandpeace.org

For further comment call Khristo Newall on 0431 519 577 or 0402 857 915.