Australia's residents against war plans protest during Obama visit

November 9, 2011 10:38 pm 

CANBERRA, Nov. 9 — Australian activists from the Residents Against War said they are planning to protest when U.S. President Barack Obama visits Darwin, Northern Territory of Australia next week, the Australia Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Obama will make a two-day visit to Canberra and Darwin of Australia on Nov. 16 and 17. There are speculations Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will announce an expanded U.S. military presence in Australia in Darwin, the report said.

According to Justin Tutty from Darwin Residents Against War, he expects at least 20 locals to stage a peaceful protest near Northern Territory state parliament when Obama arrives on Thursday.

"Our message is that we don't want U.S. bases, we don't want U. S. nuclear warships in Darwin Harbour and we don't want U.S. troops in Darwin," Tutty said.

The U.S. and Australia are already running the Pine Gap spy base near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, and Tutty said authorities told resident that Pine Gap was a communications base, but in the last few years it has come out about its offensive role and it was used to direct dozens of attacks on Iraq.

While Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith recently signaled an increase number of joint training exercises with U.S. troops, and the U.S. will store more equipment in the city for disaster and humanitarian assistance, Tutty said he was skeptical about what a greater U.S. presence in Northern Territory would mean.

"They have talked about a pre-positioning base and we are very skeptical about the nature of the base because of all the lies we have been told about Pine Gap," Tutty said. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/LAM/utb

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