September 27, 2008
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
US Hands off Iran!
Emergency Call to Action in US by: StopWarOnIran.org
Emergency Call to Action in Canada by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) & Iranian Community Against War (ICAW)
September 27 Rally Report
On the sunny afternoon of September 27th, peace-loving people in Vancouver joined with people in 37 cities across the US and around the world who responded to a call by the US-based Stop War On Iran campaign for an International Day of Action to demand "No War on Iran". In Vancouver, a protest was organized at the Vancouver Art Gallery by Mobilization against War and Occupation (MAWO) and the Iranian Community Against War (ICAW).
With a backdrop of colourful banners and signs reading “No War on Iran!”, “Canada Out of Afghanistan Now!” and “US/UK Out of Iraq!”, people of different ages and cultures rallied together on this important day against attack on Iran and to end war and occupation around the world. Rally MC’s Arash and Payvand Pejvack, organizers with ICAW, welcomed everyone and got the energy flowing with loud chants of “No War on Iran” and “No Sanctions on Iran.”
The first speaker was, Dustin Langley, who addressed the crowd via telephone all the way from New York City. Dustin is a central organizer with the Stop War On Iran campaign and brought a message of solidarity to protesters in Vancouver, and an inspiring report about the action that happened in his city earlier that day.
MAWO Co-chair Alison Bodine also addressed the crowd from New York.
Alison, a US citizen, was politically targeted by Canada Border Services Agency in September of 2007 and was banned from Canada for two years. Alison brought a message of solidarity and support to the crowd and let everyone know that even though she is banned from Canada, she is still with us in this struggle and is continuing to organize against war and occupation in the US. Alison’s speech was followed by loud and energetic chants of “No to War and Occupation! Yes to Self-determination!” and “Lift the Ban on Alison Now!”
Mike Larson, an organizer with the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver spoke about the hypocrisy of the US’s so-called “war on terror” as the five Cuban heroes remain unjustly imprisoned in the US. The 5 have been in prison for 10 years now for peacefully defending their people against US-sponsored terrorism directed against Cuba for almost 50 years.
Kira Koshelanyk, an executive member of MAWO, spoke about the importance of opposing sanctions on Iran, saying “Sanctions are no negotiating tool, they are a weapon of war!...Sanctions are the US bartering with the Iranian government based on starvation, strangulation and trying to squeeze Iranian people until they give up.” Kira also explained that as we approach a federal election in Canada, none of the major political party leaders oppose Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan. Kira urged people to participate in a picket action, organized by MAWO on the October 14th federal election day to tell the next Prime Minister of Canada that people in Canada are still demanding Canada Out of Afghanistan.
The rally came to loud and lively close as MAWO organizer Amy McPherson read the resolution of the day’s demonstration. With loud cheering and chants of “No War on Iran!”, “Canada Out of Afghanistan Now!” and “US/UK Out of Iraq!”, the resolution was passed and participants vowed to continue to come to the Art Gallery every month and protest against these unjust wars and occupations. One last chant of “No War on Iran!” and “Don’t Attack Iran!” rang throughout the street of Downtown Vancouver and let passersby know why people were protesting on this important International Day of Action.
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