For the media

Media contacts for the Convergence:

Rev. Simon Moyle: 0402 857 915

Jessica Morrison: 0431 519 577

During the Convergence we will post media releases on this page, with photos on the latest news page.  *Please see also the Latest News page for updates.

 

Latest release:

12.30pm, 7th July 2011

Peace activists have been arrested for the third consecutive day of the blockade of the Swan Island Military Base. A small but determined group of protestors were met by a large police presence, and two were arrested as the group attempted to keep the base closed.

The convergence has been continuing all week as a protest against 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 than Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.

While the group protesting has been small, they are aware that they have the support of most Australians;

‘Poll after poll has indicated that the public do not support Australian lives being put on the line, with over 60% of Australians wanting troops to come home’ said co-organiser Jess Morrison. Ms Morrison also stated that ‘having been in Afghanistan, I have seen the devastating results of this conflict and I know personally the cost in innocent lives for the Afghan people, as well as the cost to Australian soldiers. This war has never made sense, and it is now time for the Australian government to listen to the people.’

The two protestors arrested this morning were Olivia Ball, a PhD student and parent of two from Clifton Hill, and Jessica Morrison, a University Lecturer from Fitzroy. Both were charged and then bailed to appear in the Geelong court later this month.

Other protestors remained, and continuing with singing, meditations and reading names of those who have died from both Australia and Afghanistan.

The Swan Island Peace Convergence will continue until Friday and plan to continue to blockade the base each day. More arrests are expected.

Photos of arrests and blockade available on request.

Photos also available at www.swanislandpeace.org

For further comment call Jessica Morrison on 0431 519 577 or Simon Moyle 0402 857 915

5pm, 6th July 2011

Early this morning two further activists were arrested and many others were dragged off the road as the Swan Island Peace Convergence continued into its third day.

Davey Hellier (38, Bushland Management worker from Belgrave) and Paul Ellis, (26, teacher from Warragul) elected to refuse bail and were later fined $400 each at Geelong Magistrate’s Court.

About 30 people attempted to block workers getting to work on the top secret Swan Island military base. They sang songs and read out the names of people who have died in the war in Afghanistan, both allied troops and Afghan people. When cars approached the base seeking to enter they offered nonviolent resistance to being moved.

Yesterday four members of the group were arrested and faced the Geelong Magistrate’s Court. They were found guilty of blocking a road and obstructing police, but given no penalty.

In giving the sentence the Magistrate stated that she took into account the early guilty plea and their impassioned statements against the war. She said many people in society agreed with the defendant’s position on the war.

The Swan Island Peace Convergence will continue until Friday and plan to continue to blockade the base each day. More arrests are expected.

7pm, 5th July 2011

Four Swan Island Military Base Protestors arrested and face court today

On the day that the 28th soldier death was announced, a group of protestors picketed the Swan Island military base in Queenscliff to demand that Australia end its involvement in the war in Afghanistan.  Four of the group were arrested.

The four protestors who are part of the 2011 Swan Island Peace Convergence were charged with Hindering Police and Obstructing a Roadway. All charges were heard today in the Geelong Magistrate Court. All were convicted on the charges but no penalty was recorded.

Magistrate McGarvie stated that she took into account of the impassioned statements against the war of the defendants and that their position had much public support.

Arrestee Simon Moyle, a Baptist Minister aged 34, stated:

“Ten years into this war it has created nothing but death and destruction. Passive opinions have changed nothing, it is clear civil disobedience is now necessary to take a stand against the war.”

Arrestee Sharon Turley, aged 28, a professional musician from Adelaide stated:

“While we continue to wage war true peace is impossible. I am just an ordinary person standing in solidarity with the forgotten victims of this war.”

Arrestee Jarrod McKenna, preacher and peace award recipient aged 30, stated:

“I don’t think we can underestimate the significance of the Magistrate’s decision to add yet another precedent for resisting this unwinnable war, coinciding with the death of another Australian soldier”.

The fourth arrestee was Carole Powell, a nurse aged 57.  In court she shared emotionally about the effect of caring for injured military personal.

The Swan Island Peace Convergence will continue until Friday with plans to continue to blockade the base each day. More arrests are expected.

_________________

5 July 2011

Anti-war activists arrested during peaceful blockade at Swan Island Military facility

Anti-war activists have geared up their protest by blocking access to the secretive Swan Island military base near Queenscliff at 6am today (Tuesday 5 July 2011).

Two protesters have already been arrested this morning as about 40 local and visiting activists converged in the small town in protest against Australia’s continuing participation in the US-led war in Afghanistan.

Co-organiser Jessica Morrison said many activists were prepared to be arrested for the cause.

“We are fully prepared to be arrested using non-violent civil disobedience,” Ms Morrison said.  ”The majority of Australians agree that our troops must come home, but to date our government has been ignoring us. We cannot stand by while Australians and innocent Afghan citizens are killed by our military”.

Of concern to the protesters is that the military base is also home to a public golf course.  “We have no intention of disrupting anyone’s golf game but due to the way the the police enforce access to the gate, we have no option,” she said.

The Swan Island Peace Convergence started Monday with actions in Melbourne and Queenscliff and will continue with daily events and non-violent civil disobedience until Friday.

For further information contact Jessica Morrison on: 0431519577; or Simon Moyle on 0402 857 915.

or visit www.swanislandpeace.org/media

 

 

Protest on the steps of Flinders Street station on 4th July, 2011:

Human Statue of Liberty on the steps of Flinders Street Station with victims dressed in red at her feet.

 

explaining the banner to the kids in Queenscliff

Julie reading the book about the lion who wanted to love

Images from day 1 of the protests in Queenscliff:

children blowing bubbles at the gate of swan island