William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

PROTESTERS AT IT AGAIN

On the 9th of August the veterans formed up on the lawn
To honour our Comrades who are now dead and gone
The protesters flashed signs and they made a big deal
Moved along by the cops who helped curb their zeal

Parents of our fallen laid poppies on the wreath
For our soldiers who died on behalf of world peace
The signsters, they giggled and I heard them laugh
As the Canadian Flag was lowered at our Cenotaph

The Canadian Scottish Pipes and Drums and our Naden Band
Helped to drown the protesters out as our Padre took the stand
Yesterday to my surprise I saw them parade in our Colonist Paper
Our Soldiers fought, for their rights, to perform this sad caper!

Protestors at it Again
Protesters march past Victoria City on Douglas Street yesterday. Their purpose was to call attention t
Canada’s military role in Afghanistan. Debra Brash/Times Colonist

Marchers Stage Afghan War Protest on Anniversary of US Iraq Invasion

Demonstrators head to military recruiting office, federal building

By Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist staff

About 150 people took to the streets of downtown Victoria in the pouring rain yesterday to protest the American occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

The protesters gathered at city hall at noon and listened to a world beat band, songs from the Raging Grannies and speeches before marching down Douglas Street to the Armed Forces recruiting office on Fort Street and the federal building at Yates and Government.

All the while, they were under the watchful eye of about a half dozen police officers on bicycles. They kept marchers to a single lane to minimize traffic disruption.

Organized by the Canada Out of Afghanistan Campaign, the rally and march was planned to coincide with the fourth anniversary of roe American invasion of Iraq.

“We’re also calling attention to the Canadian military role in Afghanistan and also calling on the Canadian government to let American war resisters stay in Canada.” said Valerie Lannon, COAC member.

“It’s important to educate people. It’s also important to show solidarity with ordinary people in Afghanistan who want no kind of terrorism, whether it’s their own or from NATO.”

Speaker Younas Mirza, originally from Pakistan, said it is important that Afghanis be allowed to manage their own affairs.

“There is no government of the people in that country. There is only a government that has been created by the West – mostly by the United States. They do not represent the people. They represent U.S. interests. So they cannot bring stability to that country. It’s only the people of Afghanistan that can bring stability and development to that country – nobody else.” he said.

Former Victoria mayor David Turner was among those taking part in the march.

“I’m here because I want the majority of Canadians – and I think it’s the majority of Canadians – who oppose the war to be noticed.” Turner said.

“We certainly want to be out of Afghanistan and do it a different way, but it doesn’t get in the press with the Conservative government in power promoting the military.” Turner said. “We need to use the military in more creative ways.”

Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion society was also in the crowd.

“I think its time that we reconsider the way that we project Canada on the rest of the world. I think there’s very few good reasons for us to be in Afghanistan right now.” he said.

Prior to the march, the band played reggae tunes while at least one organizer recycled old picket signs – stapling antiwar slogans over old messages calling for the likes of commuter rail and protection of the Goldstream watershed.