Had a good day- we managed to hit up same day return student discounts so it only costs 14 dollars per person to get to Toronto and back for the big protest. Sounds like it was huge around the White House with even the MSM saying it was above 100,000
though I have heard 250,000
and over 500,000
from Pitt at Truthout. Doesn't matter that much as, the antiwar turnout seems a lot more impressive then the pro-war
turnout which according to CNN was 150 which falls far short of their 10,000 goal. London seems to have gone well with organizers putting the figure at 100,000
and police at 10,000
CTV is saying "hundreds" marched in Toronto but that’s bullshit. The turnout was at least 1500 but I wouldn't have been surprised if it was above 2000 like the last major protest
. But the best thing about Canadian protests is that there are no damn liberals at these things. Maybe that's a bad sentiment but the gathering in Toronto does not present as broad a spectrum of people partly because Canada is theoretically not actively engaged in war crimes in Iraq and war crimes in Afghanistan and Haiti are not as publicized
There was an opening rally with eight speakers in front of the US Consulate and a closing rally in front of the Ontario Liberal (spit) party headquarters with four speakers. There were the usual suspects- Council of Canadians
, Communist Party of Canada
, Trotskyist League
, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
, Young Communist League- Ontario
, Worker Communist Party of Iraq
, Militant Labour
, and of course the International Socialists
. I’m afraid I didn't see anything official from the NDP
or the Canadian Federation of Students
but their members were certainly active as they were speakers and handing out flyers and buttons. So it was diverse as ever on the real Left. There was of course other groups focusing on Venezuela, Haiti, and Gary Freeman
The Speakers were diverse and representative of the Left. Starting off there was the same 14 year Iraqi girl that started off the last protest (I think she's getting better), Paul Hart- a Iraq war resistor who boosted when he heard Galloway
speaking in front of the US Senate, an Vietnam area war resistor, respective representatives from the Christian and Muslim communities, labour union woman, Vice-President of the New Democrats, anti-poverty organizer, Venezuelan union leader who couldn't speak English, Haitian lady, First Nations lady, student leader etc.
The march itself was really good. It was led by half-dozen Iraq War resisters
with their families and a group of Vietnam War resisters. I waved peace signs
at Consulate guards and riot police but they didn't return them. All the people watching looked either neutral or positive about us although at the very end a man of Indo- Pakistani descent yelled "Idiots" or something to that effect but everyone just ignored him and he walked very very fast away. I got tons 'o lit and we kept the signs.
I have some criticisms off the top of my head. The 14 year old Iraqi girl tried to start up a couple of "Down with Zionism" chants. She didn't build up to that statement very well and she didn't mention a down with Anti-Semitism statement. This rhetoric can too easily be taken out of context and be misconstrued as Anti-Semitism. I mean hell just because you burn Israeli flags
doesn't mean you hate Jewish people. Second doesn't have much to do with the organization of the rally- this guy was proudly carrying around an USSR flag. Seriously the Cold War is over man and USSR is not exactly is model you want to emulates. Hmmmmm brutal state capitalism sounds like China. And the third was they have a ridiculous number of police officers guarding a peaceful protest while after it were walking up University Ave.- a major street and these three guys were full out fighting in the middle of the road. Seriously they overreact so much at these protests.
Overall I thought it was a great atmosphere for the day of action. What really brought home to me how much action is needed was a walk through downtown. I saw more beggars and homeless in a few hours in Toronto then I did in four days walking around Havana. Pretty disgusting but I'm sure all our politicians will resolve this by granting the military
12. 8 billion more dollars.
NO TO IMPERIALISM AND WAR! TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN!