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July 16th 2005

Rally organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation draws participation from hundreds downtown Vancouver

On Saturday July 16, Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) organized a successful protest rally to demand an immediate withdrawal of Canada's troops from Afghanistan. The rally on Saturday drew over 200 people and was an urgent response to the July 14th announcement by Canada's Chief of Defense, Gen. Rick Hillier, that Canada would be deploying 2,000 more troops to occupied Afghanistan. The rally also responded to Hillier's offensive and threatening remarks against the people of Afghanistan as he announced the new attack. Last week, Gen. Hillier announced to media that the new troop deployment would target "detestable murders and scumbags" and that the job of the Canadian forces "is to be able to kill people."

MAWO organized the rally in protest to Hillier's offensive and racist comments about the people of Afghanistan and to echo the Afghan people's demands for self-determination. MAWO organizers also emphasized the demand for "Canada Out Now!" by collecting hundreds of signatures for the "Operation: Canada Out!" campaign.

MAWO July 16th 2005 Demonstration

The demonstration featured speakers representing the diversity and unity of the antiwar movement. Local activists spoke, such as independent trade-unionist and Latin American solidarity activist, Claudio Ekdahl, Chair of Kwantlen Students Against War & Occupation, Kasia Machelak and Iraqi woman and activist, Dalal Assad who called one minute of silence to honor of the over 150,000 people killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

Speaker Kasia Machelak stated: "This latest move to send 2000 more troops to Afghanistan coupled with the Canadian government's blatant statements about their imperialist agenda is a sign that Canada is stepping up its role and taking an increasingly long term and significant position. We in the antiwar movement must also step up our role to expose the illegality and injustice of the occupation of Afghanistan."

At the end of the demonstration a resolution against war and occupation was read from the stage and passed to the resonating sound of cheers from the protesters documenting this protest in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, across the Middle East and across the world.

Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) will continue action against the troop deployment in Afghanistan with an emergency picket at the Vancouver Canadian Military Recruitment Centre (1070 W. Georgia) at 3pm, July 21st. This picket will target and oppose the Canadian Military's expansion of war and occupation around the world, the deployment of 2000 more Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan and the racist comments of Gen Rick Hillier.

Canada Out of Afghanistan! Self-determination for All Oppressed Nations!