Greying grandmothers held the hands of toddlers, students walked beside wealthy business owners and couples-both gay and straight- joined church groups on Sat., Mar. 19 for a "Black Flag March" to commemorate the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
More than 200 protesters met in Tomkins Park on 17 Ave. and 8 St. SW, to remember the more than 16,000 Iraqi civilians who have died in the last two years of the ongoing American occupation. Participants carried black flags and paraded peacefully and silently down 8 St. SW, as names of those killed were read aloud.
"This marks the second anniversary of the war in Iraq," said event coordinator Julie Hardlicka. "In Canada about 45 cities are taking part in protests. This event is to raise awareness- many people believe that the war is over."
Food Not Bombs, a Calgary-based group that cooks and serves free meals for the needy, was present to share their message of peace and to raise the profile of war-profiteering Canadian businesses.
"More money spent on bombs means less money spent on food for people who need it," said Paul Farquhar, a volunteer with Food Not Bombs, as he served some hot soup to chilly protesters. "We're here to draw attention to war profiteering. I think a lot of people don't know that Canadian companies are involved. Even if Iraq is 'solved,' it will happen again in other countries. I want people to be aware."
Another group involved in the event was the Gay and Lesbian Peace Collective.
"I'm here to show my ongoing opposition to the war in Iraq," said Ken Erickson, a member of the collective. "A lot of people have been killed. We're here to remember both civilians and the military."
Erickson said the Iraqi people are in worse condition now than before the American invasion.
He urges concerned citizens to take action by writing letters to their members of Parliament to let them know that they do not support the occupation of Iraq.