Rallies opposing the US occupation of Iraq were held on Saturday in Montreal, Toronto, and Halifax. The Montreal and Toronto protests drew about five to seven hundred people each—a far cry from the tens of thousands who took to the streets of Canada’s largest cities in the weeks before the US launched its illegal war against Iraq. The unions and social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) were conspicuous by their absence from last weekend’s protests.
Among the speakers at the Toronto rally was a student from Ecuador who was one of three people taken by US immigration officials from a bus carrying Canadians to Saturday’s march in Washington.
Another of the three who was barred entry to the US—Sahand, an Iranian-born, York University student who is a Canadian citizen—spoke with the WSWS.
WSWS: You were on the bus to Washington for the demonstration and were turned back. Did they give a reason why you were singled out?
Sahand: They didn’t give any reason. I am a Canadian citizen, but because of where I am from I think they refused to let me cross.
WSWS: What do you think the war against Iraq was really about?
Sahand: I think the Bush administration has used the war to gain popularity. They were not so popular before the war and now they are popular. The real reason I think they went into Afghanistan was for that reason and because of the oil pipeline they want to have in Afghanistan. The way the US makes friends will only make them enemies, but they will continue just to distract persons from the real reasons for the war.
WSWS: The US government has given indications that it is preparing military actions in other countries, such as North Korea, Syria and Iran. How do you feel about the possibility of the US undertaking to overthrow the regime in Iran?
Sahand: I think that it is an awful government in Iran. But I wouldn’t be happy if the US went to war against Iran. I think they should allow my country to make itself free of this government. To say they are going to make people free by making war against them—it doesn’t make sense.