Local Communist Party organizes Ukraine rally, calling on end to war

Local Communist Party organizes Ukraine rally, calling on end to war

Dozens gathered at Centennial Square on Sunday for a rally that was organized by the Vancouver Island Peace Council and local Communist Party, calling on an end to the war in Ukraine.

“There’s been a lack of level-headed discussion about some of the nuances of this conflict,” said Tyson Strandlund, one of the organizers of the event.

The group has their own unique calls to action that differ from the ones outlined by the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.

They’re calling on NATO to cease its eastward expansion, Canada to pull out of NATO and the freedom for political prisoners in Ukraine.

They’re also pushing to end calls for a no-fly zone, negotiate a peaceful settlement and are calling on the Canadian government to stop sending arms to Ukraine.

“This rally isn’t about taking sides in this conflict. Our concern, number one, first and foremost, is for human life, is for a peaceful settlement to this conflict and de-escalation of the violence,” said Strandlund.

But not everyone agrees with their demands.

Devon Sereda Goldie of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre and Ukrainian Canadian Congress Victoria Branch said their calls to action directly contradict the ones her group has been pushing for weeks.

“We’re advocating for NATO to close the skies in Ukraine, we’re advocating for more defensive weapons for Ukraine as always. We’re advocating for a peaceful resolution, but we strongly believe Ukrainians should be able to defend themselves against an aggressor,” she said.

Strandlund, on the other hand, said “it’s unfortunate. I don’t think it’s doing Ukrainian people any big favours at cheering on a fight to the last man.”

Goldie reiterated that the Ukrainian Cultural Centre doesn’t support Sunday’s rally organized by the Communist Party and the mixed messaging is frustrating.

“It seems like they’re trying to capture the positive energy that has been generated and the goodwill within the community and try to manipulate it. They’re holding these events at the exact same time as our events, using the same language, and using the same sort of imagery and similar locations,” she explained.

“It really feels that what they’re asking, if it were to happen, will lead to the slaughter of Ukrainians and the overtaking of Ukraine by the Russians,” she continued.

Goldie said more rallies for Ukraine, organized by the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, are set to take place in the coming weeks.

Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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