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March 19th 2005

March 19th - Global Day of Action

On Saturday March 19th, Mobilization Against War and Occupation held a major rally that was a great step forward for the antiwar movement in Vancouver and a success. We were joined by over 500 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to mark the second anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and protest ongoing imperialist occupations around the world. Two years after the invasion of Iraq MAWO aimed the demonstration at the ongoing occupations of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Indigenous Nations in Canada. The rally program reflected these demands with many fiery and moving speakers and performers. An Indigenous hip-hop performer opened the rally, followed by Coast-Salish elder, Kelly White. Speakers also included, a Muslim woman and activist, Najuli. Clayton Thomas Mueller of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Teanau, an Indigenous activist from New Zealand, took the stage together to speak about the struggles of oppressed people across the world. Kira Koshelanyk, MAWO Co-Chair also spoke and was followed by a joint Korean protest performance by Korean Student Network Against War and members of the Capilano Social Justice Committee. Aaron Mercredi, of Redwire Native Youth Media, closed the rally and led into the march.

The focus of the demonstration was clear, and the march reflected the struggle, as women, youth, people of color. It was people from these oppressed communities that were in the lead.

After speakers and performers, we took to the streets to demand, “YES TO SELF-DETERMINATION! NO TO OCCUPATION!” The march boomed though downtown with unstoppable, energetic chants, which made MAWO’s demands present in the streets of Vancouver.

The march led down Burrard St. to Sunset Beach to unite with other antiwar activists. And it was at Sunset Beach where an enormous MAWO banner was hung from the Burrard St Bridge that read “US/UK Out of Iraq!”

At the rally at Sunset Beach MAWO brought the voices of oppressed people to the front of the antiwar movement. Not only did we present a strong focus on the politics of war and occupation, but also our presence and work drew the attention of major media. On March 19th 2005 people in Vancouver declared their opposition to war and occupation, and their resolve to work tirelessly to bring an end to war and occupation.