The Ukrainian-Australian community held rallies around Australia on 29 April to ask the Australian Government to continue its support for Ukraine and to #FreeTheHawkei – a next-generation protected vehicle made in the same Bendigo facility as the famous Bushmaster vehicles, which have achieved cult status in Ukraine.
In a nod to the Hawkei — named after a death adder snake found in Northern Australia — rally goers wore snake print and held toy snakes. In Bendigo, outside the Thales Australia facility where the protected vehicles are manufactured, Hawkeis were in view behind a fence, waiting to be “freed”. At the Sydney Town Hall, rally goers released a large toy snake held inside a cage at the end of the rally.
Rallies were held in Bendigo, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart and Perth, and around the world in Paris, Grenoble, Munich, Stockholm, Geneva, Hamburg, Prague, Oslo, Tblisi, and Sacramento and Austin in the USA.
“As Ukraine gets ready to launch its spring offensive, any extra military assistance from the Australian Government would be greatly appreciated,” said Ms Kateryna Argyrou, Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO).
“Ukrainian defenders have told us the Australian-made Bushmaster is highly mobile, perfect on the battlefield, and has helped save lives. We know the Ukrainian Government thinks the Hawkei would be a ‘perfect match’ — they’ve even released an AC/DC backed video asking for the additional support.
“We are grateful that Australia is a strong, generous supporter of Ukraine. That’s because Australians support the rules-based order and understand the Ukrainian people are being forced to make unbelievable sacrifices when all they want to do is to live their lives in peace.
“We urge the Australian Government to free the Hawkei, so we can secure victory together,” she added.
The Hawkei vehicle provides protection, mobility and payload, and can be used for reconnaissance, command and control operations, electronic warfare, and potentially as an air-defence platform.
Check out the media coverage of the rallies in our AFUO Newsroom.