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.