September 24: Global Day of Action - MAWO Mobilizes 900 in Vancouver Against Canada's Occupation of Afghanistan and War & Occupation in Iraq!
100ft Banner Dropped From Burrard Bridge!
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September 24th 2005 saw hundreds of thousands of people across the globe come to the streets to echo the demands of the Iraqi people for an end to war and occupation. Over 900 people joined Vancouver’s antiwar coalition, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) to demand: “US/UK OUT OF IRAQ! CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!”
Coast Salish Elder Kelly White welcomed the teeming crowd on the territory of her Indigenous nation. Kyle, a US war resister then took the stage with the most moving, powerful and passionate speech of the day. Kyle, having just served as a US soldier in Iraq, spoke of the transition he made to become an anti-war fighter and a War Resister seeking refugee status in Canada. The crowd of hundreds was silent, focused and enraptured with the words of this courageous young man.
Tim Louis began speaking with saying to Kyle and the crowd “As a Vancouver city Councilor, without any authority, without the authority of the mayor, I pronounce you an honorary citizen of Vancouver!” The crowd erupted in cheers.
The program continued with Vietnam War draft dodger and renowned Downtown Eastside poet Bud Osborn, followed by Rain DeGuzman of the Capilano College War Resisters Support Committee, Tamara Hansen of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, soul poet Adeline and Nita Palmer of UBC Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally.
News media from Global BC, CTV and other local and community based radio, newspapers and television were present to cover the program and rally.
Kicking off the march was the local hip-hop crew Influents, who opened their set chanting “Education Not Occupation!” and went on to play an anti-war themed set which energized the crowd.
Marchers then poured onto the street and chanted non-stop down Robson St, Burrard St, and onto Sunset Beach. Upon arrival they were greeted with the sight directly in front of them of 100ft banner as it began to be unfurled from the Burrard St. Bridge, finally stretching 2/3 of the way down to the water: “US/UK Out of Iraq! Canada Out of Afghanistan!”
Speakers closed the rally, including Michael Van Fleet, Aboriginal Liason with the Kwantlen Students Association and Nicole Burton, Coordinator of the MAWO Canada Out! Campaign. MAWO members Max and Janine, then read a resolution against war and occupation, which was passed by cheers and chants from the crowd.
The words of the MC’s Alison and Shakeel brought it to a close “We are standing here in Vancouver, but we are not standing here alone – we are a small part of something much larger. Across the world people are marching today, and in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Haiti, people are fighting on the front lines of this struggle against war, for humanity and the possibility of a better world.”
War Resister Kyle
Vancouver City Councillor Tim Louis