On August 9, 2018, Saudi Arabia and its coalition forces targeted a school bus in Yemen with the United States made a laser-guided bomb. 40 children and 11 adults were murdered, and 79 more were injured. This tragedy is not the only one that Yemen has suffered after over three years of a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war and bombing campaign against Yemen. Since March 2015 this war has killed over 14,000 people in Yemen. Beyond indiscriminate bombings, Saudi Arabia and its allies have imposed an air, land and sea blockade of Yemen that prevents vital medicines, food supplies and fuel from getting to Yemen. The war and blockade has caused the worst cholera epidemic in history, and now Yemen is facing a famine.
On August 24, Vancouver’s antiwar coalition MAWO (Mobilization Against War and Occupation) held a monthly antiwar, anti-occupation rally and petition campaign in downtown Vancouver. With banners and picket signs demanding “U.S./Saudi Arabia Hands Off Yemen” and “Stop Bombing Yemen!” activists brought public attention to the war on Yemen which has been largely ignored in mainstream and capitalist media. An information table was busy as people stopped to talk to organizers, to sign petitions and to get more information. Teams of activists approached passers-by and collected signatures on petitions demanding that Canada end it's $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. A petition was also available demanding that Canada get out of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which draws attention to Canada’s participation in NATO military interventions, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and on Russia’s borders in Latvia.
To wrap up the action, protesters raised their picket signs and gathered together to hear Alison Bodine, MAWO’s chairperson, speak on the megaphone to the crowd and people passing by. Alison outlined why MAWO has this action every month, to protest the new era of war and occupation that is bringing destruction and bloodshed to our brothers and sisters in the oppressed nation around the world. Alison also spoke on how the government of Canada is spending millions of dollars on waging war abroad while waging war at home where homelessness, education and healthcare all lack funding and attention.
As this action came to a close, it was with the commitment to continue educating, organizing and mobilizing against war and occupation, with these monthly antiwar actions and other public events. MAWO also believes in the importance of collaboration and is working to build a strong and united antiwar movement with other organizations around the world. To find out about upcoming events and actions, visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow on Facebook or @mawovan on Twitter.
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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