five reasons to march this saturday

Tomorrow, April 4, is a global day of action to protest the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From Toronto Coalition to Stop the War:

Five reasons to march this Saturday

Saturday, April 4 is a global day of action against war in Afghanistan. The date coincides with the 60th anniversary NATO summit in Strasbourg, France and is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "Beyond Vietnam" speech at the Riverside Church in New York. [L note: it is also the anniversary of King's assassination.]

The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Collectif Échec à la guerre are calling for pan-Canadian demonstrations on April 4 to demand an end to the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. These demonstrations have taken on a renewed significance this week.

Here are five reasons you should join demonstrations across Canada this weekend:

1. Free speech - use it or lose it!

The Harper government and its backers are trying to silence anti-war voices in Canada. They have banned British MP George Galloway from speaking in Canada, cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation because it spoke out against war on the people of Gaza, encouraged suppression of free speech of Palestine solidarity activists on university campuses, and are denying refuge to US war resisters against the will of the people and the Canadian Parliament.

Every person that comes out this Saturday will help protect our hard-won civil rights and freedom of speech.

2. The surge and expansion

The US has already sent another 21,000 troops to Afghanistan and has expanded the war to Pakistan. This is a disaster that will stoke more violence in the region - bringing open war to a nuclear armed nation of 170 million people. They have also begun arming local militias throughout Afghanistan, sowing the seeds of a bloody future. Every new soldier sent to Afghanistan makes the situation worse. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: "The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban."

The Canadian Forces have told soldiers to expect their tours-of-duty to be extended and Harper has hinted that they may be willing to extend Canada's deployment. We need a strong show of opposition to the expansion. Don't extend it. End it!

3. Women's rights

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has just passed a law that legalizes rape in Afghanistan. The new family law also places draconian limits on a woman's right to education and employment. It allows their husbands to determine when they may leave the house and bans women from refusing their husbands' sexual advances.

As the courageous Afghan MP Malalai Joya has been saying for years: "The government that Canada supports in Afghanistan is a 'photocopy' of the Taliban when it comes to women's rights."

4. $18 billion is being spent on the war

We are in the midst of the biggest economic crisis in decades yet the Harper government has continued to plow more money into war. It will spend $18 billion on the war in Afghanistan and is increasing military spending to a total of $490 billion over the next 20 years. With $4 billion, we could provide affordable housing for all Canadians or abolish tuition fees. That money could be used to expand Employment Insurance, invest in green technology, re-tool empty factories and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions or nationalize industries in financial trouble.

Join us to demand that we fund peace, a clean environment, good jobs and human needs - not war.

5. Self-determination for the people of Afghanistan

The Afghan people want disarmament and a free society. NATO responds by sending troops, tanks and guns to support a corrupt warlord government, and then they wonder why it's not working. The only way we will see a bright future in Afghanistan is if the Afghan people are in charge of their own country. That cannot happen under a foreign occupation concerned with its own geo-political interests.

Join us this Saturday!

Freedom for Afghanistan. Bring the troops home now!

In Toronto:

Rally & march
Saturday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m.
Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto / TTC: Dundas

For a list of events in Canada, go here.

In the US, national mobilization march on New York City.

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