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Protestors to target US Air Force base in Christchurch
28 November 2001
Christchurch anti-war protestors plan to demonstrate outside the US Air Force base at Christchurch International Airport on Saturday December 1 as part of a National Day of Action against the war in Afghanistan.
Protestors will meet at the Totem Pole by the roundabout on the corner of Memorial Avenue and Orchard Road at 2.30 pm before marching to the base itself. Vehicles will be leaving Cathedral Square at 2.00 pm to ferry protestors from town.
The protest has been organised by the Christchurch/Otautahi Coalition Against the War (COCAW). Groups involved include the Anarchist Round Table, Anti-Bases Campaign, Aoraki Young Greens, CAFCA, Food Not Bombs, Staunch, Socialist Workers Organisation and Women in Black.
Organisers have asked participants to bring ribbons, balloons, poems, dolls and other items, which will be tied to the security fence during the protest in memory of the victims of the bombings and other military action in Afghanistan. Other protest actions will also occur during the day. Food not Bombs will be providing free soup.
"We are targeting the military base at Christchurch not only because of the US Air Force's bombing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, but also because the base itself has links to the current war. Although the base operates under the cover of the Antarctic Agreement of 1961, it is also used for overt and covert military and intelligence support operations that have little or no relationship to Operation Deep Freeze. US Air Force Starlifter and Galaxy cargo aircraft regularly pass through the base on their way to US military and intelligence bases in Australia," said Mathew Turner of COCAW.
"One of these bases is Pine Gap, a major satellite ground control station which is used in the gathering of military radio transmissions, giving information on military readiness and troop and ship movements. The satellites can intercept radar emanations, allowing mapping of air defences, anti-ballistic missile radars and early-warning radars."
"We are also concerned at the actions of staff at the United States Antarctic Programme which led to the recent police harassment of workers at the Pathfinder Press Bookshop, " Mr Turner said (see The Press, November 16, 2001).
For more information about the Christchurch protest, phone (03) 365 4068.
For details of other protests around the country on the National Day of Action, visit the Peace Movement Aotearoa website at www.converge.org.nz/pma
For more information about the US Air Force Base at Christchurch International Airport, visit the Anti-Bases Campaign website at www.converge.org.nz/abc
Christchurch/Otautahi Coalition Against the War (COCAW) Press Release