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      Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) Launches “No to NATO! Canada Out of NATO!” Political Campaign at International Day of Action Against NATO

      By Janine Solanki

      On Saturday July 9th, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) answered an international call to action from European antiwar and anti-NATO groups to organize against the NATO Summit taking place in Warsaw, Poland July 8-9, 2016.

      NATO is an increasingly dangerous tool of imperialist intervention. This is the military body that dropped more than 14,000 bombs on Yugoslavia in 1999, that conducted much of the occupation forces in Afghanistan, and bombed Libya into chaos in 2011. At the NATO summit in Warsaw, NATO's next military action was decided upon. NATO is now stationing four battalions of 1000 troops each on Russia's borders in Eastern Europe, flexing it's military muscles and saber-rattling against Russia.

      It is especially critical that peace-loving people in Canada respond to NATO's actions, as Canada is playing a key role in this latest move by NATO. Canada will be commanding one of the four battalions, and committing at least 450 troops, six CF-18 fighter jets and armored vehicles, as well as will continue to deploy naval frigates which have already been operating in the region for the last two years.

      MAWO's antiwar rally and petition campaign launched a new MAWO petition addressed to the Government of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, which demands that Canada immediately withdraw from NATO and to remove all Canadian troops and military equipment from Europe and all NATO missions. Protestors approached passer-bys and received a strong response from people who were against Canada's participation in NATO and added their signature to this petition.

      Protesters and people passing by gathered together to hear from speakers at the rally who spoke out against NATO and the developments taking place at the NATO summit occurring this same weekend. Coast Salish Elder and long time social justice activist Kelly White opened the rally with drumming and chanting, leading the crowd to chant “MAWO for Peace!” Azza Rojbi, MAWO executive committee member then announced the new “Canada Out of NATO” petition and read out the petition, inviting people to add their signature to it. Alison Bodine, MAWO chairperson, spoke on NATO's imperialist atrocities and how Canada has had a large role in NATO military actions both in the past and in the newly announced military buildup on Russia's border. Protesters were able to connect with the action held in New York City as part of this International Day of Action via a phone report. Speaking from the New York City action was Joe Lombardo, Co-chair of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), an antiwar and social justice coalition in the United States. Joe spoke about the New York action and the NATO summit in Warsaw, stating that it is “very very clear to many people that what is really happening is the beginning of staging up and militarizing, and pushing more towards war with Russia.”

      This MAWO action served not only to participate in this important International Day of Action, but also to launch MAWO's “No to NATO! Canada Out of NATO!” campaign. For updates and to get involved please visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow MAWO on twitter @mawovan

      No to NATO! Canada Out of NATO!

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