I took a few pictures at the April 28th protest rally organized by Vancouver’s Mobilization Against War And Occupation (MAWO). A couple hundred people came together to demand an end to Canadian and American wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The gathering was one of MAWO’s monthly peace rallies, the next scheduled for Sunday, May 26th, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
From a press release I picked up at the rally:
On Monday, April 23, it was exposed in Parliament that detainees in Canada’s war in Afghanistan are facing torture at the hands of the Afghan police force. The detainees are turned over to the Canadian-trained Afghan police after being captured by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. While Defense Minister Gordon O’Conner has tried to cover up the torture, claiming that Canadian officials knew nothing of the detainees’ conditions, Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has acknowledged Canadian Forces were able to see the detainees’ conditions. Many Afghans have also claimed that they were visited by Canadian Forces while in prison – and told to cooperate with Afghan forces torturing them to extract information.
Following this massive exposure of Canada’s war crimes came a 150-134 vote in Parliament against a proposed end to the mission in Afghanistan in 2009.
“These cases of torture show the brutality and inhumanity of the Canada/NATO occupation of Afghanistan,” said MAWO co-chair Kira Koshelanyk. “Earlier this month, 100 new Leopard tanks were brought for the occupation. There is clearly no plan to bring ‘freedom’ to Afghanistan or an end to the occupation. This reaffirms the need for MAWO’s call for an independent public inquiry into the Canadian war drive in Afghanistan.”
In Iraq, a massive wave of opposition to the US/UK occupation is rising. April 9th marked the largest protests since the occupation began, with more than a million people on the streets of Najaf demanding “US Forces OUT NOW!”
“Faced with increased death of US troops and this growing wave of organized resistance, the US is implementing further ‘divide and conquer’ techniques such as the wall being built around the Adhimiya district of Baghdad. This has also been met with massive protests,” continued Koshelanyk.
In Somalia, US backed Ethiopian troops have killed well over 1,000 in Mogadishu alone, while the resistance to the occupation is increasingly brining those forces into a quagmire. Hundreds of Ethiopian forces have been deserting in this opening front of war and occupation in Africa.
“Demonstrations around the world are demanding an end to war and occupation. Now, we are also united in a new demand: Hands Off Iran,” said Koshelanyk. “Recent threats from the US and UK, as well as threats of tightening UN sanctions, make it more important than ever for all peace-loving people to organize against the potential of a devastating military attack on Iran, and other violations of Iran’s sovereignty, such as UN sanctions.”
Check out another upcoming MAWO Direct Action on May 18: What Canada is Doing in Afghanistan: Why Afghanistan has become a Quagmire for Canada