On what seemed like the first mild, sunny day in Toronto in months, about two hundred people gathered across the street from the U.S. Consulate on April 22 to protest the recent missile attack on Syria by the United States, Britain and France. The protesters, including over a hundred refugees waving Syrian flags and carrying placards with the slogan “Hands Off Syria”, disputed the claim by Washington, Ottawa and allied forces that the government in Damascus rained chemical weapons on its own people. Speakers at the Toronto rally noted that the missile strike against Syria took place just hours before international inspectors were to enter Douma to investigate whether poison gas was employed, and if so, by whom.
Organizers of the rally, primarily the Communist Party of Canada, the Canadian Peace Congress and associated groups, limited speaking rights to their political friends. Thus, Socialist Action, which days earlier endorsed the Sunday protest, and which anchored a similar rally at the U.S. Consulate eight days before, held an impromptu speak out at the conclusion of the CP-backed event.
Socialist Action speakers emphasized the criminal role of the Canadian state in imperialist military interventions in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Libya. It condemned Justin Trudeau’s decision to maintain the stationing of Canadian troops to back the right wing regime in Ukraine and police to occupy Haiti, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, and now sending war helicopters and soldiers to Mali.
Through the SA megaphone campaigners spoke for boycott of apartheid Israel, and for international human rights. The crowd chanted at the finale “Canada Out of NATO, NATO out of the Middle East”, “Imperialist Hands Off Syria” and “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Trudeau, Trump have got to go.”
The SA statement and leaflet for the event can be found here.