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Event Reports
Oct 19, 2006 - Emergency Picket


Organized by: Mobilization Against War & Occupation


More than 35 people gathered at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center on October 19 in a powerful show of protest against Canada’s criminal occupation of Afghanistan. Chants and shouts of “Canada has bloody hands; Canada Out of Afghanistan!” and “Money for Jobs & Education; Not for War & Occupation!” echoed off the surrounding buildings as picketers carried signs, raised their fists and circled the area in front of the recruiting office to protest recent bombings of villages in southern Afghanistan and the deaths of 2 more Canadian soldiers. The emergency picket was called right in the middle of the first week of the intense activity of MAWO’s 5th Student Week Against War & Occupation taking place on 10 Lower Mainland campuses.

In the 24hrs preceding the picket action NATO carried out deadly bombing raids on villages in southern Afghanistan. At least 22 Afghan people were reported dead in the 2am bombing raids claimed to be for “rooting out those responsible for roadside bombing attacks.” Occupation forces were later forced to admit that they “found no Taliban militants were in the village.”

“After five years, the occupation has brought the deaths of untold tens of thousands of Afghan people. Canada is not making “progress” for people in Afghanistan; Canada is engaged in WAR. This is why a Canadian soldier serving in Afghanistan is SIX TIMES more likely to die than a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq.” Read Nita Palmer in the opening statement to the press.

Speakers who addressed the picket and people walking by on the street included David Whittlesey, a veteran of the Vietnam antiwar movement and US Civil Rights movement who spoke on the parallels with the growing opposition by people in Canada to the occupation of Afghanistan today. After David, Esteban Gonzalez, a lower mainland high school student and MAWO organizer spoke on the lack of a future for Afghan young people created by the occupation.

Following more enthusiastic rounds of picketing with chants getting louder and stronger picketers heard from Michael Van Fleet, Aboriginal Liaison for the Kwantlen Students Association, who spoke on Canada’s parallel war on Indigenous people at home while waging war abroad. The picket was wrapped up by MAWO organizer Janine Solanki who denounced the recent NATO bombings and ongoing attacks on Afghan people by Canadian forces and called for the immediate and full end to the occupation.

The October 19th picket was the 22nd picket organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation – MAWO at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center since the July 2005 announcement of the doubling of Canada’s military deployment to the occupation of Afghanistan. Faced with the grim news every day of escalating deaths and further destruction of Afghanistan, MAWO has committed to continue to picket the downtown Vancouver military recruitment center and to continue with monthly demonstrations and educational events to gather more support for the call of CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!