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      Now More Than Ever!
      Mobilization Against War and Occupation Brings Antiwar Demands to Downtown Vancouver!

      By Janine Solanki

      In the few short months that Danald Trump has been president of the United States, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to see that his war-mongering rhetoric has been followed up by war-mongering actions. This has included escalating the US war drive against Syria. On April 6th Trump ordered a cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles. On June 18th an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian jet, marking the first air to air attack by the US against Syrian forces. Now more than ever it is the responsibility of antiwar activists, organizations and all peace-loving people to come out in protest against this new era of war and occupation, which started with the 2001 US war and occupation of Afghanistan and not long after the invasion of Iraq, and is now being accelerated under US President Trump.

      In Vancouver, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) has held an antiwar rally and petition drive every month for almost 14 years. This month’s rally and petition drive on June 23rd focused on demanding “US/Canada/NATO: Hands Off Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Venezuela and North Korea!” On a busy Friday afternoon in downtown Vancouver, the streets were full of people going about their day, many of whom were attracted by the antiwar banners and picket signs and stopped at the information table to pickup antiwar newsletters and talk to organizers. Teams of activists approached passers-by to collect petition signatures demanding Canada end its $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. This issue was especially relevant as news had broke the day before about the brutal torture of Yemeni detainees by United Arab Emirates forces, who are part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been waging a devastating war against Yemen for over two years. Along with implicating U.S. military officials in this torture, the report brought Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia into sharper focus. A recent federal report on arms sales revealed that not only is Canada supplying armoured military vehicles to Saudi Arabia for $15 billion, but that after the U.S., Saudi Arabia is the top destination for Canadian arms exports. How can the government of Canada claim to defend human rights, when they are a top supplier of weapons of death to a country that inflicts Yemen with daily bombings and an air, land and sea blockade resulting in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today, as well as is overseeing the torture of Yemeni people!

      Petition signatures, positive conversations and new people signing up to find out about upcoming events and actions were all good indicators that people in Vancouver are increasingly opposed to this new era of war and occupation, and want to get involved in standing against war and for peace. Along with MAWO’s monthly antiwar rally and petition drive, people can get involved and attend MAWO’s regular public forums, cultural events and other actions. For more info visit MAWO at www.mawovancouver.org , find MAWO on facebook or follow on Twitter @mawovan.

      No to War and Occupation! Yes to Self-Determination!

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