By ERWIN CHLANDA
Two protesters have locked themselves to a barrel blocking traffic to the US communications base Pine Gap.
Update 9.20am: Fire officers cutting the barrel to which two protesters are locked.
It provides intelligence for the military operations in the Middle East, according to protest spokesperson Nick (who would not give her surname).
She says some 30 Alice Springs locals are drawing attention to the conflict with Israel during which 20,000 people have lost their lives in Gaza in the past six weeks.
Personnel from the NT Fire Service had been attempting to “disassemble” the protesters from the barrel but had left to fetch tools.
There are several Pine Gap workers with their cars on the blocked Hatt Road.
Nick said this morning police are also present but no arrests have been made.
No permission had been given for the action which he described as peaceful.
UPDATE 10.40am: A media release from the group quotes Declan Furber Gillick, described as a local Arrernte writer: “My family resisted the installation of Pine Gap forty years ago. US militarism wasn’t welcome then and it’s not welcome now.
“Palestinians are being bombed relentlessly by a genocidal apartheid regime that uses military intelligence gathered on Arrernte Country and I won’t stand for it.”
Tommy (no surname) is described as “a social worker secured to the concrete barrel,” is quoted: “Pine Gap is committing war crimes. If I can block a road for a few hours to hinder the security operations of the US and Israel then I have achieved my goal.”
UPDATE November 29:
Police and Fire and Rescue Service say in a media release have been responding to “increased protest activity” in Alice Springs.
Quoting several spokespersons, they say: “Two women, aged 32 and 39, locked themselves to a 44-gallon drum filled with concrete.
“Police attempted to negotiate with the pair, who refused to stop blocking the road, resulting in diversions being implemented around the protestors to allow workers access to Pine Gap.
“Firefighters attended the scene and removed them from the concrete with specialised equipment.
“Both have since been issued notices to appear for summary traffic offences and are due to appear in the Local Court on February 22, 2024.
“The NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services have always respected the right to protest.
“We do not support protest tactics that involve committing offences that diverts emergency resources away from critical care and response.
“Six police officers were required to attend this incident and negotiate with the protestors, provide traffic control, not to mention the hours of work that go into issuing notices to appear and following up court proceedings.
“Four firefighters were required to attend the protest to remove the two women from a concrete block safely. These members can’t be quickly deployed to house fires, wildfires and car crashes.”