CANADA: Anti-G8 protesters demand open borders

Issue 

BY KAREN FLETCHER

OTTOWA — More than 5000 people braved flooding rain to “take” the Canadian capital, Ottowa, behind the banner “Open the Borders: No-one is Illegal” on June 27, the final day of the G8 leaders' summit.

Despite grave predictions of violence by the capitalist media, the Canadian actions against the G8 summit were both peaceful and radical. Policing was restrained by the public outcry that followed unprovoked police attacks on protesters in November 2001. Police in “soft-hat” uniforms lined the march route on bicycles, not even blinking as US flags were burned and the streets were covered with chalked slogans.

In Ottowa, the “No-one is Illegal” demonstration, one of the largest actions of a week of protests, was explicitly anti-imperialist. It was led by young immigrants carrying red and black flags and addressed by young speakers from the Philippines, Palestine, Algeria, Colombia and Sri Lanka — all of whom called for an international alliance against US imperialism.

Ten busloads of activists came to Ottowa from Montreal. Among them was Palestinian human rights activist Samee Elatrash who gave the stirring keynote speech that launched the march. The crowd enthusiastically applauded his assertion that “we are all Palestinians — all the world's poor are Palestinians — and this is our intifada. This is a time of unprecedented and unilateral imperialism, but it is also a time of great resistance.”

The march stopped outside the federal ministries of defence and immigration to hear anti-imperialist speeches and poems. It finished on Parliament Hill where participants pledged to step up the campaign to open the borders and stop the detention and deportation of immigrants and refugees by the Canadian government.

From Green Left Weekly, July 10, 2002.
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