September 30, 2010
CANADA/US/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!
Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
September 30 MAWO Picket Action Report
68th Picket Action Demanding Canada/US/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!
On September 30th peace and social justice activists lined up outside the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre near Vancouver, Canada. The message: Canada, US and NATO forces out of Afghanistan now! The picket was organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO), which has been organizing monthly pickets against the war for over 5 years now.
The picket opened with MAWO Outreach Coordinator Janine Solanki reading the picket statement, which concluded loudly: TROOPS OUT NOW! SELF DETERMINATION, FOR AFGHANISTAN NOW!
This begun the first round of picketing by the peace activists. A sign was setup that was pointed towards vehicles driving by that read “HONK FOR CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!” While the picketers chanted, drivers passing by honked loudly and energetically showing their support for the picket.
As the picketers gathered together again, Janine welcomed the first speaker of the picket, Seth Manzel, a US military veteran on the Board of Directors of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the GI Voice Executive Director. Seth spoke to the picket from Seattle via cellphone. His message was simple: the US has no business in Iraq or Afghanistan, and their presence there is making the lives of Iraqis and Afghans miserable, in addition to the US soldiers sent there. He called for the immediate withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
David Whittlesey, an antiwar activist dating back to the Vietnam War era, spoke next, and spoke with fire and passion. David reminded everyone that these wars being waged today are no different than what was happening in Vietnam. He noted that some tactics have changed, but they both started out the same: with acceptance by the general population in the US and Canada that begins to dwindle into more and more outrage and anger at the wars. He said that the people in Afghanistan are suffering brutally at the hands of the US, Canada and their allies, in a way very similar to the Vietnamese people under the US war and occupation there.
A final round of picketing concluded this antiwar picket calling for an immediate end to the war and occupation of Afghanistan. Picketers vowed to continue to protest every month outside the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre until the government of Canada withdrew every troop from Afghanistan.