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Protestors confront CANSEC attendees, exhibitors

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A large group of antiwar protestors are blocking the entrances to CANSEC, Canada’s biggest weapons and military convention. Hundreds of demonstrators are confronting representatives of Israeli and Canadian militaries and weapons companies over their complicity in the ongoing military strife in Gaza, as Israel has carried out a prolonged assault from the air, sea and on the ground over the past seven and a half months.

Held annually in Ottawa, CANSEC showcases leading-edge technologies, products and services for land-based, naval, aerospace and joint forces military units.

Hundreds of protestors block the entrances to CANSEC, Canada’s biggest weapons and military convention in Ottawa today. Source: World BEYOND War

“Dozens of people were burned alive in Israel’s attacks on a displaced persons camp in Rafah this week, a spot Israel had designed a ‘safe’ zone. And the people profiting from this atrocity, who have been providing the weaponry for the slaughter of tens of thousands of Palestinians, are right here at CANSEC,” said Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War. “Today we are making it impossible for anyone to come anywhere near this weapons fair without confronting the war crimes and devastating bloodshed these arms dealers and military representatives are complicit in.”

Weapons companies arming the Israeli military

Many of the weapons companies currently arming the Israeli military’s assault on Gaza are exhibiting and presenting at CANSEC. Israeli government and military representatives had also planned to be in attendance. Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair was scheduled to give the keynote address at the Official Opening Breakfast for CANSEC today. Blair recently oversaw DND’s purchase of $32.2 million worth of Spike LR2 missiles, which are made by Israeli state-owned weapons giant Rafael Advanced Defense System, and are being used by Israel in Gaza.

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The protest was planned to condemn war profiteering in solidarity with Palestinians and people in conflict zones all around the world who have been killed, displaced, and maimed by the weapons being peddled and sold at CANSEC. The arms manufacturers exhibiting at CANSEC have earned record profits from the military assault this year.

Government continues to maintain contracts

“We refuse to stand silent while corporations profiting from our people’s genocide are hosted year after year at CANSEC and while our government continues to maintain contracts with these corporations,” said Sarah Abdul-Karim, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement. “As we witness the ongoing genocide in Gaza, we know that the arms trade fuels this genocide.”

“By continuing to arm, fund, and collaborate with the Israeli military and state-owned and incubated Israeli companies that supply it, Canada has been directly complicit,” said Niall Clapham Ricardo of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. “And to finally end this complicity, Canada must cut off the arms trade with Israel.”

 

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