Coming and Going
Photos by Tatiana Gomez
Text by Tim McSorley
Additional reporting by Rémi Bureau
On Sunday, July 29th, the first of many rotations of Quebec soldiers fighting in Afghanistan returned to the Val Cartier military base, just outside Quebec City. The Canadian government took the opportunity to celebrate soldiers returning home, organising a convoy from the airport to Val Cartier and calling on Canadians to line the roads wearing red. While soldiers returning home alive and well is definitely a moment to celebrate, the Harper government continues to overlook the persistent questions raised by more and more Canadians about why we are fighting there in the first place: according to the latest polls, 70 percent of Quebeckers are against Canada's war in Afghanistan.
In that light, Siafu presents a photo-gallery of images from the anti-war demonstration in Quebec City on June 22, which coincided with a parade to mark 2,000 Quebec and Candian soldiers being sent off to a mission that continues to increase in danger, and decrease in popularity among the public.
Questions about whether military intervention can truly bring peace and development were at the heart of the anti-war demonstration, organised by the coalitions Quebec Pour Le Paix and Guerre a la Guerre.
Approximately 700 demonstrators turned out for the counter-march, which remained peaceful despite media reports leading up to the event that predicted physical confrontations would occur.
2,000 soldiers being sent to Afghanistan throughout the rest of the summer were on hand for the march. Many questioned the judgement of the protesters, both over the timing of the demonstration as well as over Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.
Chalk writing on the ground reflected the opinion of the march's participants: the protest wasn't against soldiers, but against a government that is willing to engage in war without taking the ultimate responsibility.
Police were vigilant to keep protesters separate from the march.
Despite the police lines at first, they eventually ceded way to protesters to march behind the soldiers. See if you can spot the Maoist flag in the background.
Ultimately, the goal on both sides is to make sure that we don't see the needless deaths of Afghanis or Canadians. The question is whether continuring to send soldiers will ever achieve that goal.