Anti-war activists are planning to hold a demonstration in Melbourne on Friday, November 27, to demand the withdrawal of all Australian soldiers from Afghanistan. They are also calling for soldiers from the Special Air Service to be held accountable for alleged war crimes. Participants will gather at State Library Victoria from 17:00 (local time). Organizers plan to hold another demonstration at Victoria Barracks should numbers exceed the current limit on gatherings of 50 people due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. If the numbers at the second location also exceed 50, then other locations will be sought.
A heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transport are possible in the vicinity of the demonstration/s. Although the protests are expected to be peaceful, law enforcement could act to disperse the crowd if they do breach the limits in place on public gatherings.
On November 19, the Australian Defence Force released the findings of a four-year inquiry into alleged war crimes by Australian forces in Afghanistan. The inquiry found credible evidence of 23 incidents of unlawful killing of 39 people by or at the direction of members of the Special Operations Task Group. The findings of the inquiry has led to outrage among many Australians and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice. The government has created an Office of the Special Investigator to examine potential criminal matters raised by the report.
Those in Melbourne are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the protest sites as a precaution, anticipate delays to transport, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.