Rally in Toronto on Saturday January 25. Despite the freezing rain, people stood for several hours to listen to speeches denouncing US war threats and sanctions against Iran
In cities big and small, people marched in their thousands to condemn US war threats against Islamic Iran as part of the International Day of Action on January 25.
It was appropriate that protesters would march through the streets of Washington DC to send a clear message to Donald Trump and his warmongering neo-con allies that people do not want war with Iran.
Similar rallies were held across 15 cities in Canada including Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and four cities in British Columbia—Vancouver, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Penticton.
In the US, rallies were held in Washington DC, Richmond (Virginia) Madison (Wisconsin) and San Francisco (California).
Protesters also took to the streets in Armenia, and several countries in Africa including Uganda and South Africa.
They had a clear message for Trump: ‘No war on Iran’.
At the Toronto rally held opposite the US consulate that was guarded by a heavy contingent of police, some on horsebacks, speakers called for no war on Iran, an end to sanctions against Iran and the withdrawal of all US forces from the Middle East.
Speakers repeatedly drew attention to the US’ disastrous wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen (ongoing as part of the Saudi regime’s brutal assault on the Yemeni people).
Millions of innocent people have been killed, entire countries destroyed and hatred for the US warmongers has intensified since these wars were launched nearly 20 years ago.
The Toronto rally was spearheaded by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War.
Led by the energetic James Clark who is completing his PhD at York University, he is a veteran of the anti-war rallies of the early 2000s.
He had brought together many organizations representing student groups, the labor movement and many faith communities.
“A lot of these old relationships that were built over the past 10 years still exist even though they haven’t been that active,” Clark told Bren Doherty of TVO (January 24, 2020) on the eve of the Toronto rally.
“Those networks are actually coming together to renew themselves now in the event that there is going to be a sustained threat against Iran,” said Clark.
It was evident in the January 25 Toronto rally that was endorsed by a number of labour organizations as well as Scientists for Peace that these organizations are again becoming active.
The Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), led largely by second generation of Iranian-Canadian youth were also part of the organizers.
Saman Tabasinejad of ICC said while she is disappointed by Trump’s foreign policy agenda, she is not surprised.
She said when Trump tore up the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the writing was on the wall, adding that she was not fooled by the rhetoric Trump had used during the election campaign – vowing to end “senseless wars.”
She also condemned the sanctions against Iran that were killing innocent people including babies that cannot get much-needed medicines.
The protest rally in Hamilton was organized by Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War and held outside the Federal Building.
As part of their publicity effort, Ken Stone sent a tongue-in-cheek invitation to the British High Commissioner to Canada, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, asking her to join the Hamilton rally.
Ken reminded her that the Brits are ‘experts’ at joining illegal rallies (referring to the British ambassador’s participation at an illegal rally in Tehran two weeks ago).
While Ms. d’Allegeershecque did not take up the offer, the invitation drew a lot of attention and generated quite a few laughs!
There is a renewed sense among people that wars cause more destruction and inflict misery on innocent people.
Only the war merchants and big corporations benefit from such wars in which innocent people get killed—both in the victim societies as well as American soldiers that come from poor families.
The ‘No War movement’ is rising from its slumber and will confront any moves by the US and its Nato allies if they plan to launch another war.