No Sanctions, No War: Montrealers Protest War With Iran

Protesters Urge Trudeau to Say No to US Involvement in Iran

Hundreds of Montrealers gathered to protest the Iranian and American conflict on the Global Day of Action. Photo Ireland Compton

Hundreds of Montrealers gathered at Pl. Norman Bethune on Saturday to protest the United States’ involvement in Iran, and urge the Trudeau government to distance themselves from US action in the country.

Montreal’s protest happened alongside protests in over 200 American cities and 18 countries gathering in support of the movement in opposition to imperialist war as part of a Global Day of Action.

“We don’t want another Libya, or Iraq or Syria, or Afghanistan or Yemen in Iran,” said Iranian Canadian Congress member, Saideh Khadir. “There’s 85 million people who risk their lives, the destruction of their lives, deaths, destruction, trauma and more trauma, and we don’t want that.”

The protest was organized in collaboration with numerous groups including the ICC, the International League of Peoples’ Struggles, Échec à la guerre, and Artistes pour la Paix. Other groups who came out to show support included les Mémés Déchaînées, the Montreal Raging Grannies, Socialist Fightback, Alternative Socialiste.

The protest moved from Pl. Norman Bethune, onto the US Consulate before reaching its final destination in front of Complexe Guy Favreau. Leading the protest on foot was Stuart Myiow, Wolf Clan Representative of the Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawá:ke.

Protesters chanted “USA, terrorist. Canada, complicit,” as they marched down Ste. Catherine St. Photo Ireland Compton

Before departing, Myiow addressed the crowd.

“You find your peace here, in my home,” he said. “You have never found peace in your homes. The reason why you have always been at war, for thousands of years now, is because of the corruption of male dominance and the false man made religions that it has brought into this world and it is in the name of those Gods, that you continue to fight wars, constantly, that are made up, that are not real wars.”

“Think of this, all of you are from different countries,” he continued. “Your countries have been bombed, your countries have been terrorized. By this country, Canada. Yet you are here, protesting war. You are a prisoner of war, all of you. The entire non-Native world is a prisoner of war. For thousands of years, this is all you’ve been doing. This is all you have known. People want peace, but all your fake, false, man made governments want war. Their economics depend on war, war is your economics and your economic policy is to kill and destroy and to steal from everyone else.

“This is the way of your non-Native world, and you have brought this here. It is time for you to listen. You have never listened and you do not know the way to peace. If you want peace, you are going to have to listen to the people of Turtle Island, to the original people who are still holding on to the Great Law of Peace.”

“We know that the price of war is human life, we know that the world is a safer place when we put down our guns and speak to each other.” —Soudeh Ghasemi

The protest marched down Guy, turning onto Ste. Catherine, as those in attendance chanted phrases like “No sanctions, no war,” and “USA, terrorist. Canada, complicit.” It came to a halt once it reached the US Consulate on Ste. Catherine and Stanley.

Here, demonstrators were treated to words from the ICC’s President, Soudeh Ghasemi who travelled from Toronto to attend. She spoke of the tragedy in Iran that occurred just weeks ago, and of the 176 lives lost as a result, including 57 Canadians.

“It has devastated the Iranian-Canadian community in particular, and all Canadians coast to coast in general,” she said. Although the Iranian government and responsible officials bear full responsibility for the missile attack, it is important to remember the cost of escalating tensions. As Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted, if it was not because of recent tensions and escalation in the Middle East, those on flight P752 would be home with their families and loved ones right now.”

“Again, Iranian people are caught between a rock and a hard place. Between repression and sanctions,” she continued. “We are here today to tell Prime Minister Trudeau and all politicians, that assassinations, military conflicts and war will only make matters worse. We know that the price of war is human life, we know that the world is a safer place when we put down our guns and speak to each other.”

Protesters stopped in front if the US Consulate where they listened to Iranian Canadian Congress President, Soudeh Ghasemi. Photo Ireland Compton

She added that Trudeau must stand against sanctions and war, not only because lives are at risk, but also because the best way to support the Iranian people’s right to choose their own political future is by ensuring they will not suffer under economic terrorism and live under the threat of war.

The official calls to action of Saturday’s protest were for no war or intimidation against Iran and no sanctions against Iran. They also demanded Canada disassociate from and denounce US political action, as well as remove Canadian troops from the Middle East.

After this stop, protesters then marched on to Complexe Guy Favreau, where they were met by Raymond Legault of Échec à la Guerre, Bill Sloan of Mouvement québécois pour la Paix and Pierre Jasmin of Artistes pour la Paix for closing remarks.

It is estimated that around 300 people participated in the demonstration, a number that seemed to satisfy those who were involved in its planning.

“We’re really very grateful to the response that Montrealers and Quebecers have given to the call of the American groups for peace in Iran that has called to an action day today,” said Khadir. “It’s heartwarming, this solidarity with the people of Iran.”