In this photo provided by US Navy, the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, Sept 1, 2021. (PHOTO / US NAVY VIA AP)
SYDNEY – Over a thousand people rallied in Port Kembla in Australia's state of New South Wales on Saturday to protest plans to establish a local base for nuclear submarines at the heart of the AUKUS agreement.
Members from the local activist group Wollongong Against War and Nukes (WAWAN) carried a banner that read "No war no nukes." Union representatives and members of the Australian Labor Party also joined the rally, some other banners read "No to AUKUS," "No nuclear submarine," and "No place for a nuclear base."
Port Kembla, a coastal town about a hundred km south of Sydney, along with Newcastle and Brisbane, were named by the former Morrison government as potential sites for a base on Australia's east coast
Event organizers said they are seeking to "send a clear message that (they) don't want a nuclear submarine base here or anywhere else," local media reported.
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Local media cited WAWAN member Alexander Brown saying the establishment of such a base would hamper the region's transition into the renewable energy industry.
This is pointless war-mongering by Americans in the region, he said.
"What we need now more than ever is a rapid transition into a renewable economy and peace in the region," he added, "We don't want it here or anywhere else."
Port Kembla, a coastal town about a hundred km south of Sydney, along with Newcastle and Brisbane, were named by the former Morrison government as potential sites for a base on Australia's east coast.
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The Albanese government said it will take the time required to consider all feasible options.