Canada rightists persecute activists

Most quotes are from a Sept. 4 Fire This Time news release sent to Workers World by the Mobilization Against War and Occupation in Vancouver, Canada.

“At Metrotown Skytrain Station near Vancouver, Canada, transit police officers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police assaulted, handcuffed and removed three activists who were peacefully distributing the Fire This Time newspaper. Because FTT is a non-commercial, free, social justice newspaper, the officers had no legal ground to stop the distribution.

“It is clear that the aim of the assault was to intimidate and harass social justice activists, which is political targeting as FTT publishes many articles against war and in support of social justice struggles in Canada, from Indigenous rights to labour organizing. This was an attack on our fundamental civil and democratic rights, which include freedom of expression and the right to organize and demonstrate without violence and intimidation. It is also a case of police brutality, which is a disturbing trend growing in Canada.”

The activists were roughed up by the cops but were never issued a ticket or a written document.

“This assault on our democratic rights is happening in the context of the new era of war and occupation. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. and its imperialist allies including Canada have begun a new era of increasing war and occupation; from the continued occupation of Afghanistan to the bombing and war against Libya and now threats, sanctions and covert foreign intervention in Syria and Iran. Whenever imperialist governments like the U.S. and Canada wage brutal and devastating wars abroad, it is always accompanied by a crack-down against those who defend social justice and protest war at home.”

Workers World Secretariat member Deirdre Griswold commented on this repression in Vancouver: “It is significant that following the Vancouver events, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, who hails from the oil-company-dominated province of Alberta and has taken a hawkish stance on the Middle East, shocked and angered many Canadians on Sept. 7 when, without warning or explanation, he broke relations with Iran and demanded Iranian diplomats leave the country.

“The repression of Canadian progressive and anti-war activists is further evidence of this lurch even further to the right by one of U.S. imperialism’s main allies. Since 2006, Harper has sent Canadians to die in Washington’s military offensives against anticolonial regimes across West Asia and North Africa.”

The Mobilization Against War and Occupation is participating in actions in North America called by the United National Antiwar Coalition on the weekend of Oct. 5-7 — the anniversary of the occupation of Afghanistan — to protest that war and threats against Syria and Iran.

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