(Photo by Abby Cole)
The NL Alliance for Peace and Solidarity held a Peace Rally this past Sunday, March 6th, in response to the rising conflict in Ukraine and other ongoing conflicts across the world, including in Yemen, Syria, Palestine, and Somalia.
The Alliance is a new organization formed by Chief Organizer Nathan Roberts and other like-minded volunteers. They also invited other groups to assemble a coalition that advocates for peace, including the Social Justice Co-Op, Federation of Labour, ARC-NL, and MUNSU.
When speaking with The Muse, Nathan Roberts explained, “It’s clear to us that Newfoundland & Labrador needs a rekindled peace movement, and this rally will be the beginnings of that.”
The focus of the rally and the Alliance is on what Canada can do to maintain peace worldwide and what Canada should do in response to the rising conflict in Ukraine. They advocate for Canada to end the sale and distribution of weapons for de-escalation. They also advocate that Canada leave NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization; an intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European Countries and 2 North American Countries, including Canada and the United States).
Chants heard at the rally include “No to war in Ukraine!” “No to war in Palestine!” “No to war in Somalia!” and “No to war in Yemen!” with leader Nathan Roberts emphasizing “No war anywhere!” and “Do not send Arms anywhere, to any country!”
Statistics were shared at the rally to educate the crowd on the severity of ongoing crises across the globe. Including that 5.6 million people have fled Syria, with 45% under 18. In Palestine, between 2011-2021, 3572 Palestinians and 198 Israelis have died in the conflict, including 806 Palestinian children and 14 Israeli children. And in Somalia, 7.7 million people, including 5 million children, will require humanitarian assistance in 2022 due to conflict, food insecurity, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the recruitment of child soldiers in the country.
The Alliance believes that Canada is not taking the right approach to maintain peace in Ukraine and denounces the increase in sanctions, deployment of troops and funds, and its commitment to NATO. The Alliance believes instead that peace efforts should remain in the hands of the United Nations.
In a press release, the Alliance emphasized, “History has proven the only way forward as a globe is an unwavering peace & diplomacy!”
The Alliance plans to continue advocating for world peace and invites other people and organizations to join them. “The working classes of the world demand peace, and for every person in every country to band together to end poverty, end suffering, end climate change; not waste our resources on bombs, arms, and death!” – The Organizing Committee of the NL Alliance for Peace and Solidarity.