Man dressed as 'Cat in the Hat' gatecrashes US war games operation to play hide and seek with soldiers

The peace protesters played hide and seek and had a tea party to disrupt military exercises with Australian, US and Japanese forces

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The Independent Online

A man dressed as the Cat in the Hat has trespassed on an army base in Australia to “play hide and seek” with soldiers.

He was one of a group of protesters disrupting military exercises in Queensland, including a group of three bonnet-clad grandmothers holding a tea party to demonstrate the need for international diplomacy.

Peace Convergence, a Christian group opposing Australian involvement in interventionist wars, had targeted the Talisman Sabre war games, conducted jointly with the US and Japan, at the Shoalwater Bay Army Base.

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The 'Cat in the Hat' was photographed inviting an army officer to play hide and seek with him

Several groups of protesters from Peace Convergence are believed to still be at large in the area.

The “Cat in the Hat” and another activist started a game of hide and seek in the training area, which includes rainforests, dunes and swamps.

He had been photographed posting a formal invitation to Major General Stuart Smith, the commanding officer of Australian forces taking part in Talisman Sabre, inviting him to play with the famous Dr Seuss character “for peace, not war games”.

“Militarism is trampling on the lives of too many, while simultaneously making a huge contribution to the worsening problems of global pollution and climate change,” Peace Convergence quoted the “cat” as saying.

“If, through making a fool of myself, I manage to make anyone think about and question the true nature and value of the Australian-US alliance, it has been worth the effort.”

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The grannies were arrested for trespassing after refusing to move from a road to the army base

He was found on Monday afternoon, according to the group’s Twitter feed.

The “game” was continuing as three women dubbing themselves the Quaker Grannies for Peace started a tea party at Shoalwater base at what they described as a “tea and cake negotiation table”.

They were filmed dressed in 160-year-old bonnets and drinking tea while blockading the access road to Samuel Hill military base yesterday afternoon.

Helen Bayes said: “Negotiation is not currently part of the war rehearsals, so we are drawing attention to this missing element. It is essential to achieve peace.”

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Soldiers did not accept the invitation to a tea party and the grannies were arrested

The group said they wanted to share the tea and cake with soldiers to encourage negotiation.

Jo Vallentine, a former senator for Western Australia, was among the trio.

She told 7 Local News that although she wanted Australia to be defended, current conflicts were “about offence” and “taking the war to other countries”.

The tea party only lasted around an hour before they were held by the military and then arrested and for trespassing and removed by police.

Al three women, aged 71, 69 and 65, appeared in Rockhampton Magistrates’ Court today and were each fined $500 (£240) with no conviction recorded, ABC News reported.

Queensland Police said that in a separate incident, military officers arrested two other protesters in the same training area on Monday.

Margaret Pestorius and Paul Christie, also from Peace Convergence, had been on a “peace pilgrimage” through the area for Talisman Sabre.

Christie received a fine of $500 (£240) and Pestorius was fined $750 (£360) because of her history of civil disobedience at Rockhampton Magistrates’ Court.

Several groups of protesters from Peace Convergence are believed to still be at large in the area.

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