by Bill Spurr / Halifax Herald Limited –
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA (January 18, 2004) –Throwing “missiles” made of cardboard into the air, a few dozen Halifax demonstrators protested against Canada’s participation in the U.S. missile defense program.
David Pratt, Canada’s defense minister, wrote his American counterpart this week to start the process of negotiating an agreement on what some term Star Wars. That has appalled members of the Halifax Peace Coalition, who gathered in front of the library on Spring Garden Road.
After a speech and some chanting, the demonstrators waded into the snow, donned placards with labels like Missiles, Warheads, Missile Defense and Defense Contractor, and started a fusillade of projectiles made from toilet paper tubes. This was followed by a skit in which a man wearing a George Bush mask took money out of people’s pockets and gave it to the defense contractors.
“We wanted to bring a more theatrical element into it,” said John Diamond of the Halifax Peace Coalition.
“We’re working under the slogan that cardboard missiles are just as effective as the real ones and a whole lot cheaper. So that’s why we decided to do a missile launch instead of a march.”
Demonstrators also asked passersby to sign a petition and handed out literature, including copies of Socialist Worker. “We’ve already collected 3,000 or 4,000 signatures on the . . . nationwide petition being used by the Canadian Peace Alliance,” Mr. Diamond said.
“We’re hoping to show that if a city like Halifax can collect that many signatures in a couple of months, the possibilities for organizing this are endless.”
Missile defense refers to a plan in which ballistic missiles would be shot out of the sky by other missiles deployed in space.
The Halifax Peace Coalition believes missile defense has less to do with defense than with an American intention to dominate space as well as Earth.
Demonstrations were also held Saturday in Nelson, B.C., Saskatoon and Peterborough, Ontario.
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