On Friday January 20th, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the next President of the United States. This is a man who rode on a campaign of fear mongering, Islamophobia and racism, and who now is at the highest office of the most powerful imperialist country with by far the largest military in the world. However war, racism and Islamophobia is not unique to Trump. The US has been leading a new era of war and occupation for the last 16 years which has caused the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other countries through their wars, occupations, sanctions, covert and overt military interventions and drone strikes. However Trump as US president accelerates the US war drive as he has promised to boost US military spending and the capacity to wage war, including the potential of nuclear warfare. Trump has also made it clear that he will wage a war at home too, with his anti-immigrant and refugee rhetoric and policies which attack women, Latino, Muslim, Black, Indigenous and other oppressed communities.
With the inauguration of Trump, antiwar and social justice activists in the US were clear that this is no time to sit and wait for his first actions, but to stand up against Trump from the very beginning of his presidency. In Washington DC actions were organized to protest against Trump, as close to the inauguration as possible, with tens of thousands protesting in a march from Union Station to the White House, a rally at the Navy Memorial and along points of the inaugural parade route. Across the US in many other cities more protests took place, as well as solidarity actions around the world including in Sydney, London, Hong Kong, Berlin as well as cities in West Bank, Palestine.
Vancouver, Canada also answered the call to protest Trump's inauguration, and Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) organized their monthly antiwar demonstration in coordination with the #J20Resist US and worldwide protests on January 20th. Peace and social justice minded people came out to the rally at the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery in Downtown Vancouver, where MAWO had setup an informational table which was busy with passers-by signing petitions and discussing with organizers. The rally began with Kelly White, a Coast Salish Indigenous Elder who gave a welcoming to the protest. The rally was MC'd by Alison Bodine, the MAWO chair, who led the crowd in energetic chants of “Resist Trump! Resist War! Resist Islamophobia!”
Alison invited up Thomas Davies who spoke on behalf of Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice on the ongoing antiwar movement which has been protesting under US presidents Bush, Obama and under Trump needs to continue even stronger. Brian Sproule spoke on behalf of the Communist Party of Canada Marxist-Leninist. The crowd also heard songs of resistance from local musician Zane, who shared his music in support of the rally. Zane was followed by speakers Janine Solanki who spoke from MAWO about the new era of war and occupation and the necessity to get involved in the antiwar movement, and Tamara Hansen from Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice spoke about the ruling class attempts to divide people with Islamophobia and racism, and to call for unity. Direct from the protests in Washington, DC, the rally heard from Sara Flounders who was a main organizer of the #J20Resist Washington DC protests and is the co-director of the International Action Center. Sara reported on the actions protesting the inauguration, and was able to hear the chants of support and solidarity from Vancouver's rally. The rally closed with Indigenous activist Wanita along with her family who raised the voices of youth and future in powerful drumming and song.
The rally closed with the commitment to continue educating, organizing and mobilizing against war and occupation and to demand:
Resist All Oppression!
Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter:@janinesolanki
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