On Saturday, April 9, StopWar Vancouver took part in a pan-Canadian Day of Action against the war in Afghanistan. At least ten Canadian cities and towns held events. In the United States this weekend featured anti-war rallies in New York City and San Francisco.

Here is the statement that StopWar distributed at the Vancouver rally.

People Power, Not War!

StopWar, Vancouver’s broad-based anti-war coalition, is taking part in the cross-Canada day of action against the war in Afghanistan on April 9 with a rally and march starting from Library Square at 1 pm. We are demanding an end to the brutal and callous war in Afghanistan, cancellation of the proposed $29 billion purchase of F-35 fighter jets, and for solidarity with the peoples of the Arab world struggling for peace, democracy and social justice in their homelands.

The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Collectif Échec à la guerre (antiwar coalition in Montreal) issued the call for the April 9 day of action, to demand an end to the Afghanistan war and to bring Canadian troops home now. The majority of Canadians support this demand. They want governments to invest in health care, education and social housing, not more weapons of war. During the current federal election, these critical issues must be a key topic of debate and action.

The war in Afghanistan has reached new levels of brutality. Civilian casualties spiked in 2010 and the rate of killing is increasing. After almost ten years of occupation and a half a trillion dollars spent by NATO, Afghanistan still suffers from a lack of basic services and a corrupt NATO-backed government.

According to the Afghan Rights Monitor, “Almost everything related to the war surged in 2010: the combined numbers of Afghan and foreign forces surpassed 350,000; security incidents mounted to over 100 per week; more fighters from all warring side were killed; and the number of civilian people killed, wounded and displaced hit record levels.”

The continued deployment of 1,000 Canadian soldiers in the guise of ‘trainers’ of the fledgling Afghan army and police will only compound the problems faced by the Afghan people. Canada’s support for the corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai works against the aspirations of the Afghan people to live in a free and democratic society. Self-determination for the Afghan people is the only solution to the current crisis.

In the words of former Afghan MP, Malalai Joya – “No nation can donate liberation to another nation. These values must be fought for and won by the people themselves. They can only grow and flourish when they are planted by the people in their own soil and watered by their own blood and tears. ”

Events in the Middle East and North Africa provide an inspiring example of people struggling to create a new society without intervention and against regimes supported by the big imperial powers. StopWar is absolutely opposed to the NATO bombing of Libya, which is a shocking violation of the UN Charter and an act of war against a sovereign country, under cover of a so-called “no fly zone”. We condemn Canadian military involvement in Libya’s internal civil conflict, which is the latest example of intervention to bolster imperialist control of energy resources in the region.