Protests Across Canada

A series of rallies and protests are being held across Canada this weekend to oppose Canada’s presence in Afghanistan. Protests are being held from Vancouver to Fredericton. The protests at recruiting centres held yesterday did not draw big crowds, but today in Toronto and Montreal, significant numbers showed up.

Block the Empire

In Montreal, there were several protests held. One of which was organized by Block the Empire, with protesters voicing their opposition to the war on terror, but also making a link to imperialism and capitalism. The protest started at Guy metro and marched on to St. Catherine street making its way past the US consulate. Several speakers were on hand to, and several groups partook in the rally, including students from Concordia University, and several anarcho-communist groups.

The protest started modestly with about 50 people gathering at noon, but by 1pm, as the march proceeded through the streets of Montreal, the number grew to several hundred.

A highlight of the march on was a stop at a Canadian Army Recruitment Center on St. Catherine street. Protesters proceeded to tape posters on the doors of the building and placed flesh and bones (with the blood off the flesh) on the ground, to signify the troops dying in Afghanistan. The posters taped onto the doors stated “Enlist Now” & “There is no life like it”.

Protesters at Recruitment Canada

Symbols

While the turnout was significant and curious bystanders picked up leaflets handed out by organizers of the protest, some seemed disturbed by the overtly communist and anarchist symbolism of a large number of protesters. The hammer and sickle was very prominent on a group of protesters, while others carried red and black banners.

The leaflets which were handed out charged the US and Canada with imperialism and not only challenged the Afghanistan mission, but also invoked Lebanon and Israel, as well as Latin America. Canadian corporations like Bombardier were also named as accomplices in the imperialistic project. The protest had more political implications than just demanding a withdrawal from Afghanistan. And that may have turned off potential protesters — the ones that did not come out to rally, but ended up on the receiving end of leaflets.

The atmosphere of the event was both serious, in its discourse, and festive, in its form. A van drove along playing music, a marching band was around, and a group of clowns was running around and acting scenes. There was also no violence and police acted with respect to the protesters.

Protesters dancing.