The highly secretive Swan Island Military base has been targetted for the last two years by peace activists protesting Australia’s role in the war in Afghanistan.
Swan Island ‘incursion’ 2010
On 31 March 2010, four Australian peace activists known as the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective swam across the fast-moving strip of water separating Queenscliff from Swan Island and entered the unlocked Swan Island Training Area. Two stood in front of the main gate, while the other two walked into the facility. The later two pressed ‘emergency stop’ buttons of a power grid and a 7-metre satellite before they were discovered and arrested. See footage below.
In June 2010 all charges against the Bonhoeffer Four were dismissed by a Geelong Magistrate (Read Jessica’s reflections here). That same day, a further 9 activists were arrested blockading the bridge to the island (pictured right). Their charges were also dismissed by a Geelong Magistrates as they “acted in good consciousness”.
Swan Island Peace Convergence 2011
In July 2011, peace activists returned to Swan Island for a five day action with the aim of blockading the base throughout the week. The peaceful picket resulted in 10 arrests throughout the week. All those arrested this time were found guilty and fines received ranged between $200 and $650. (Court report here). It was a week of empowering actions that inspired the planned return to the base in September 2012.