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March 20th picket line demanding "Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!"
MAWO Executive Committee Member Kira Koshelanyk reads the opening statement
Bring the Troops Home Now!
MAWO organizer Mike Larsen speaking on the effects of war and occupation on students and youth.
Thomas Davies speaking at the picket.
March 20 Picket Report
Thursday, March 20th 2008 marked the 40th time an antiwar picket action organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) has targeted the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Vancouver calling for “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!” The picket also marked the passing of one week since the March 13th decision by parliament to extend Canada’s brutal occupation of Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011. Despite chilly weather, picketers protested at the Recruitment Center to show that as long as there are foreign troops in Afghanistan, peace-loving people will mobilize and protest to end the occupation.
The picket began with the reading of the MAWO statement to the press, by Kira Koshelanyk, a MAWO executive member and student. Remarking on the vote to extend the occupation, Kira stated “This vote, along with the decisions to invade, occupy and intensify the occupation in the last 6.5 years, had absolutely no consultation with poor and working people in Canada, much less Afghanistan.” The statement also told of the destruction of the occupation within just one week of the vote to extend the mission “The last few days alone show the extent of this brutal war drive. Sunday March 16th brought the death of the 81st Canadian soldier killed in the occupation. Monday night there was a NATO air strike in Helmand province that residents and local government report as killing at least 50 people. Yesterday [Wednesday March 19th], there was a NATO attack that killed 6 people from the same family including women and children. And today, NATO troops opened fire on Afghan policemen killing 1 and injuring another.”
An energetic round of picketing followed the press statement, encouraged by passing cars that honked in support. Picketers paused to hear Mike Larson, a Capilano student and MAWO organizer, speak on how young people and students feel the effects of this war drive at home and abroad. He emphasized the necessity for youth in Canada to get involved in the antiwar movement. At the close of the picket, Thomas Davies, a member of the Fire This Time Newspaper Editorial Board and trade unionist, brought home the reality of Afghan life under occupation to the busy Vancouver streets with a moving speech on the inspiring struggle of Afghan people as they fight the occupiers against all odds. The picket ended with the declaration by the organizers that these pickets will continue well past the 40th, as long as it is necessary, until all Canadian, NATO and foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
END THE OCCUPATION NOW!
INEPENDENT PUBLIC INQUIRY NOW!