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      Vancouver Antiwar Activists Take to the Streets to Demand:
      "No to War and Occupation, Yes to Self-Determination!"

      By Janine Solanki

      Today in the United States, the crucial human needs of people are being denied funding and attention, such as healthcare, affordable education, and housing. Comparatively, this year the U.S. military was given a record $700 billion budget. Already before this huge influx of funds, the U.S. has led a new era of war and occupation which began with the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 and has continued with the wars and occupations against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Palestine. In addition to outright military interventions, the U.S. has threatened and sanctioned Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

      Alongside the U.S, the government of Canada also has bloody hands in these imperialist wars and occupations. After the U.S, Saudi Arabia is the second highest buyer of military supplies from Canada. Since 2015, Canada has also approved more than $284 million in exports of Canadian weapons and military goods to the countries bombing Yemen, most of which has gone to Saudi Arabia. This is in addition to Canada’s $15 billion arms deal to supply Saudi Arabia with so-called “light” armoured military vehicles. With the backing of Canada and the U.S, Saudi Arabia has been at war with the people of Yemen for the past three years and destroyed the country with an indiscriminate bombing campaign and a crippling air, sea and land blockade that has prevented aid from reaching what the United Nations calls “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time.”

      Here in Vancouver, Canada, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) is out on the streets in protest every month, demanding an end to the new era of war and occupation and calling attention to Canada’s role as an imperialist country. On June 15th, antiwar activists and peace-loving people came together in downtown Vancouver and made an impression on anyone walking by with an information table, picket signs and large banners reading “Don’t Attack Syria! U.S. Out of Syria and the Middle East!” “U.S./Saudi Arabia Hands Off Yemen!” and “Self-Determination for Palestine!” People walking by stopped at the info table to talk with activists and collect antiwar literature, and to learn more about MAWO’s ongoing antiwar events and actions. Teams of activists took to the busy downtown street and collected signatures from passersby on a petition demanding that Canada end it’s $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

      To wrap up the action, protesters gathered together and Alison Bodine, MAWO’s chair, gave a speech outlining the new era of war and occupation and the current situation of the brutal U.S. backed, Saudi-led war on Yemen. MAWO is committed to continuing monthly antiwar rallies and petition campaigns, as well as public forums and other educational antiwar events and protest actions. To find out about MAWO’s upcoming actions visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter @MAWOVan

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