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      Vancouver Antiwar Rally Demands:
      No to Islamaphobia! No to War! No to Occupation!

      By Janine Solanki

      On Saturday January 31, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) called upon peace-loving people in Vancouver to join them in the streets of downtown Vancouver for their first antiwar rally and petition campaign drive of 2015. A quick look back on the last 12 months demonstrates clearly that the US-led war machine has continued the assault on oppressed people around the world through the ever-expanding new era of war and occupation with massive military aggression. Since October of 2001, with the start of the new era of war and occupation, the world has already seen the complete destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and now Syria is left in a constant state of U.S. fomented division and civil war.

      Following the attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France, there has been a huge rise of Islamophobia in imperialist countries, coupled with the introduction of more and more so-called anti-terrorist legislation that threatens basic civil liberties. Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) in their rally condemned the terrorist attack in France, however also used the opportunity to condemn all forms of terrorism, including state terrorism, which is used by western colonial powers including France, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. “We stand strongly against Islamophobia and the assault on civil liberties that is being organized and promoted by imperialist governments and the Western mainstream media,” stated Thomas Davies, an organizer and a founding member of MAWO who spoke during the rally.

      Canada’s role in Iraq was also protested during the rally where it was stated that over 600 military personnel and special forces, six CF-18 fighter jets, a refueling tanker aircraft and two surveillance planes are operating there as part of an air combat mission. MAWO organizers made it clear that the government of Canada is fully complicit in this newest brutal addition to the legacy of foreign wars and occupations that have devastated Iraq and killed millions of people. During the rally, organizers and activists with Mobilization Against War & Occupation distributed information against war to people walking by the busy downtown location while collecting signatures on their petition against the US led bombing campaign against Iraq. The petition also demands that the governments of Canada and the U.S. stop all material and financial aid to the ISIS/ISIL groups in Syria and Iraq.

      MAWO organizers while finishing their protest and petition drive encouraged supporters to join them again next month as they continue their monthly rallies and forums to protest against war and occupation and building an effective antiwar movement.

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