Bryan Law has taken on the law in the past.
Bryan Law has taken on the law in the past. Cairns Post

Notorious protester hits Shoalwater

ONE of Australia's most notorious protesters will risk his life and a jail sentence to infiltrate Central Queensland's upcoming war games at Shoalwater Bay, about 100km north of Yeppoon.

Bryan Law told The Morning Bulletin he and his group would trek into Shoalwater Bay and set off a GPS beacon to halt the joint Australian and US military exercise, Talisman Saber, which starts on Monday.

About 24,000 troops are expected in Central Queensland during the two-week exercise.

Travelling yesterday from Cairns, Mr Law said his group's protest was more anti-war based and would object to Talisman Saber on a higher leven than local environmental protests.

"They can't keep us out," said Mr Law, who has been arrested by Federal Police for a similar protest.

"All we've got to do is get a beacon (GPS) to a live firing area and set it off and then... the exercise should stop.

"That's not terribly hard."

Mr Law received national media attention as part of a protest group that entered Pine Gap spy base, 20km from Alice Springs in the Norther Territory in December, 2005.

The protest shut down Pine Gap for five hours.

Mr Law was among the four people charged for this under the Defence Act 1952, which carries a maximum jail sentence of seven years with an additional two years for taking photographs within the base.

Mr Law said the group fought the charges through court and each was fined about $1000.

He hopes to stop the Talisman Saber exercise for a lot longer and predicts a 60 per cent chance of doing so.

Mr Law said it would take Australian Federal Police days or weeks to find the protesters and the group would probably face a term of imprisonment when caught.

He said the group of protesters planned to take in camping equipment like sleeping bags, tents or nylon tarps, some food and water purification tools.

"We're certaily going to be letting the Defence Department know we're going into the area and reminding them if we suffer injury because they don't stop the (war) games then they're going to share in the responsibility for what happens.

"If they were to kill someone through their war games I think it would be a disaster for them."

Mr Law said the Defence Department had made a commitment that if an unauthorised person was known to be in Shoalwater Bay during the exercise, training would stop while police searched for the person.

"Talisman Saber is preparation for what is wrong," he said.

"You risk death and injury, but it's not like those things are the likely outcome, they're a possible outcome."

Mr Law said the plan was to set off the GPS near a strategic point to interrupt the exercise without going too close to soldiers.

Mr Law was driving to Yeppoon yesterday and said he expected to arrive today at the beach house where he and the other protesters would stay during Talisman Saber.

Mr Law said Central Queensland protesters were environmental activists and probably wouldn't be involved in the infiltration.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) yesterday said it would work with Federal and Queensland Police to prevent any unlawful actions.

"The ADF will take all necessary steps regarding safety of individuals, however the ADF and US military vehicles which have limited field of view may have difficulty in taking evasive action if a trespasser suddenly appears in front of the vehicle."

"In addition to being illegal to trespass on Commonwealth land it can be very dangerous to individuals who choose to break the law."

The spokeswoman said a security cell had been established to adress security and protest before, during and after Talisman Saber 2009.

State and Federal police had been monitoring activities and engaging with potential protest groups, she said.

If it was known unauthorised persons were in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and the location identified, activities would be stopped to make sure they were not injured and the person would be escorted away.

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