World BEYOND War Montreal chapter members Claire Adamson, Alison Hackney, Sally Livingston, Diane Norman and Robert Cox.
By Cym Gomery, Montreal for a World BEYOND War, March 2, 2023
Cym Gomery is Coordinator of Montreal for a World BEYOND War.
On a crisp Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 2023, more than 100 activists turned up at Place du Canada in downtown Montreal to protest the war in Ukraine. The rally was organized by Collectif échec à la guerre, and among the groups present were Montréal for a World BEYOND War, Mouvement Québecois pour la Paix, the Shiller institute and more.
Although we were not blessed with the presence of the media, on Feb. 24th, Le Devoir had published an op-ed by Échec à la guerre calling for peace negotiations.
Mercedes Roberge, the MC, introduced the speakers:
- Marc-Édouard Joubert, chairman of the FTQ, a Montréal union.
- Martin Forgues, ex-military person, author and independent journalist;
- Jacques Goldstyn, alias Boris, author and illustrator, read excerpts from Roger Water’s recent speech to the UN Security Council.
- Ariane Émond, feminist and author, read Manifest fur Frieden (Manifesto for Peace), published February 10th by two Germans, Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht, which has been signed by 727,155 people as I write these lines.
- Raymond Legault of the Collective échec à la guerre.
- Cym Gomery, Coordinator of Montreal for a World BEYOND War (that’s me!) Here is the text of my speech, in French and in English.
For some of my photos from the rally, click here. Additional photos are on the Échec à la guerre website.
This rally was one of several globally on this weekend of action for peace in Ukraine. Here are a few examples.
- The biggest rally was in Berlin, Germany, where 50,000 people gathered at Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate, in a rally organized by left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht and women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer. Wagenknecht and Schwarzer published a “Manifesto for Peace” in which they called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to “stop the escalation in arms deliveries”.
- In Brussels, Belgium, thousands took to the streets, demanding de-escalation and peace talks.
- In Italy, people marched during the night from the city of Perugia to Assisi. In Genova, dock workers joined anti-war protesters to stop the shipments of NATO weapons into the wars in Ukraine and Yemen.
- In the Republic of Moldova, huge crowds of protesters turned out to demand that the country not join with Ukraine to escalate the war with Russia.
- In Tokyo, Japan, about 1000 people took to the streets for peace.
- In Paris, France, about 10,000 people attended a protest against France’s NATO membership and its continued assistance of Kiev; there were several other rallies in other French cities as well.
- In Alberta, the Calgary Peace Council held a rally which its leader Morrigan described as “very chilly but undeniably loud!”
- In Wisconsin, Madison for a World BEYOND War held a vigil at which they were interviewed by a local news station.
- In Boston, Massachusetts, 100 activists participated in a @masspeaceaction demonstration calling for a negotiated settlement of the Ukraine war.
- In Columbia, Missouri, activists were able to get the attention of local press with their action outside of Columbia City Hall to mark the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
- Several other US rallies are linked in a @RootsAction post on Twitter.
We take courage knowing that we are a part of a huge international contingent of people who recognize our shared humanity, and who don’t want war. These protests were not splashed across the front pages of the mainstream media, but you can be sure that politicians and media noticed them… they are watching and considering their next move. Our unity is our strength, and we will prevail!
p.s. Be sure to sign World BEYOND War’s call for peace in Ukraine.
You missed reporting on several Canada-wide Peace & Justice Network events that weekend, including the virtual event sponsored by the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War entitled, “Connecting the dots: Resisting the US/NATO agenda in Ukraine & in West Asia” Recording is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7aMh5HDiDA
On Feb. 25, in Victoria, BC, peace activists joined the United for Old Growth march and rally to underscore the connection between war and harm to the environment. Our signs and banners said, Nature not NATO! Forests not fighter jets!
The Vancouver Island Peace Council, Victoria Peace Coalition and the Freedom From War Coalition were all out to demand a negotiated end to the NATO-Ukraine War; Canada out of NATO; and Peace Now!
The Freedom From War Coalition a Mid Island Vancouver Island peace organization had a leaflet distribution on Friday February 24th calling a for a comprehensive cease fire and a negotiated end to the War. About a dozen members from both Naniamo and Duncan handed out leaflets and waved placards which were well received There was good local newspaper coverage