8 July 2011 – for immediate release
Peace week culminates in candle vigil & tense stand-off with police
Swan Island Peace Convergence – Queenscliff
A week of protests at the top-secret military base on Swan Island is currently at a tense, pre-dawn stand-off as protesters breach police lines.
Meanwhile, the quiet Queenscliff street leading to the bridge to the island is a scene of meditating peace activists amid hundreds of candles representing war deaths in Afghanistan.
The convergence in Queenscliff has continued 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 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 nonviolent 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 bridge leading to the island and unfurl a peace banner. Baptist pastor Simon Moyle (34) and University lecturer Jessica Morrison (35) remain clinging to the fence out of police reach.
Both Moyle and Morrison are recently returned from Afghanistan where they have 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 who 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call for the Australian government to listen to the will of the Australian people, who overwhelmingly want our troops withdrawn from this needless war.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 and background info also available at http://www.swanislandpeace.org
For further comment call Khristo Newall at the scene on 0431 519 577 or 0402 857 915.