Protest in Fremantle at arrival of USS Higgins
Over a hundred people demonstrated against the "Sea-Swap" of crews of USS Higgins at Fremantle harbour on September 28. The protest was organised by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group (FANG) and was part of a campaign against Federal and WA State Government plans for the establishment of a de-facto US naval base in Cockburn Sound. The Sea Swap plans include flying thousands of US military personnel in and out of Western Australia to meet US warships in Cockburn Sound. Under the proposal, the US navy would use WA as a swap over point for the 7th fleet. Navy crew coming in and out of theatres of war would go straight to WA instead of US bases in San Diego or Hawaii. If Sea Swap is given the go- ahead, it will mean a dramatic escalation of Australia's involvement with the US military. The USS Higgins was arriving fresh from war service in the Persian Gulf and the protest took up the issue of the occupation of Iraq. Anthony Benbow of the No War Alliance pointed out that the Americans were now in a quagmire in that country and that the Iraqi people were paying the price of the war. He called for action to get the troops out of Iraq now. "We must protest when Bush comes to Australia for he is only coming to get more support from Australia".