PEACE ACTIVIST DEPORTED TODAY

Houston-based peace activist Scott Parkin, who had his visa revoked on Saturday 10 September when he was deemed a ‘threat to national security,’ will be deported at an undisclosed time today.

Local activists will stage a protest against Parkin’s detention and deportation at the office of the Federal Police, 383 La Trobe St Melbourne at 3pm.

Activists with a large banner with the message “Don’t Deport Democracy” and carrying luggage with the words “Deport me – I’m a tourorist” have converged on the Federal Police office to hand themselves in for a voluntary mass deportation, in time for Mr Parkin’s deportation.

Activists are angered that the Government has specifically targeted Scott, a firm advocate of non-violence and a campaigner against companies profiting from the Iraq war, such as ANZ bank and Halliburton. Scott has not committed any crime and has not been charged with any offence.

One of Parkin’s preferred campaign strategies is political communication through street theatre. In solidarity with Scott, and to protest his detention and deportation, Melbourne activists will stage a mock “mass-deportation” at the office of the Federal Police, the message being that if Scott – a non-violent activist who is opposed to the war on Iraq - is detained and deported, all activists organising for social justice are equally targeted by the government’s so-called War on Terror.

“The impending deportation deepens community concerns about the proposed new anti-terror laws. The deportation of a peace activist from Australia highlights the potential for government abuse of the new powers contained in the terror laws particularly against people who speak out against government policy,” said Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth

On Thursday John Howard announced control orders and preventative detention measures giving the AFP and ASIO powers to control people who have not been convicted of any crime.

While in Australia Scott has been involved in community education and anti-war protests including actions against KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, a giant U.S corporation with close ties to the Bush administration that is profiting from the war in Iraq.

“It is deeply concerning that a peace advocate would be targeted by ASIO officials and government departments. This is a clear attempt to silence opposition to war in Iraq and to the corporations that profit from violence” said Cam Walker.

For more information please contact:

Rory Gutterson 0409 567 837

Cam Walker 0419 338 047

Lauren Caulfield 0402 699 800