Burma: the global protests begin: Canada
Comment on a blog:
Wonderful report. Thank you. I feel really proud of ottawa turning our in great numbers to raise their voices. And of course, as usual, i am ashamed of the resident of Rideau Hall who fails - yet again - to show Canadian leadership in protesting brutal suppression. Remember a time when Canada was known for a leader in PEACE . Oh how we've fallen.
Photo Report of rally and march in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, on October 6, 2007
It was cloudy and threatening rain, but the mood was cheerful and determined. As you will see from the photos, this crowd also had great stamina.
This may have been the longest demonstration march ever held in Ottawa, from Parliament Hill to the Burmese embassy to the Chinese embassy with a brief stop on the way at the Russian embassy for good measure. These embassies are not close together.
You can follow the route from the Hill on a Google Map. Go here, and type in Parliament Hill in front of the word "Ottawa".
The following photos were taken while waiting for the march to get underway. Click on photos to enlarge them.
When I say, "Release, release", you say "Aung San Suu Kyi"
When I say "What do we want?" you say "Democracy, and when I say "When do we want it? ... well, you know the rest."
The Program Manager of Inter Pares expresses her embarrassment and disappointment over PM Harper's failure to acknowledge the crisis in Burma.
Tiny resistance fighter
Here they are turning off Wellington to go south on Elgin:
Proceeding south on Elgin toward Laurier:
A woman takes her turn at leading the chants, and she is really good at it!
In spite of the dire circumstances, the Burmese faces were joyful, probably because they were enjoying the freedom to express themselves. Often, during the march, we were reminded of how people in Burma are not allowed to assemble like this and protest.
Turning east onto Laurier, they march past City Hall:
Another sturdy little freedom fighter stops for a moment to let me take her picture:
Over the Mackenzie Bridge ...
... that spans Ottawa's famous canal which in winter is populated by skaters:
Still on Laurier, approaching the campus of the University of Ottawa:
Continuing east on Laurier toward King Edward, another woman leads the rousing chants ...
The same woman, reflecting a perfect blend of east and west in her attire:
(Note, the offices of Inter Pares in the background)
Crossing King Edward, continuing east on Laurier, the man holding the mic tells bypassers the purpose of the demonstration. Many vehicle drivers honk their horns in solidarity ...
A banner is unfurled displaying photos of victims of the military junta:
Here is a closeup of a couple of the photos on the banner, showing injuries inflicted by the military:
After many more blocks, we turn finally onto Range Road, the street on which the Burmese embassy resides at #85:
As the crowd marches south on Range Rd., residents are constantly reminded over the loudspeaker that they should beware of their neighbour at #85, Suites 902 and 903. "Don't let your children go near there; they are dangerous people," shouted the speaker, only half in jest.
The police were waiting for us, of course. (below) They wanted to know who was the organizer. Matt asked them why they wanted to know that, and they said they have to know who is responsible for the march. So Matt, the route coordinator, gave them his personal information and took full responsibility. Somebody warned him he might be put on a "list" but others said he probably was already on one, and he smiled in agreement.
Facing the building that houses the embassy and its staff, a beautiful, haunting prayer was sung, and a moment of silence observed. Someone in the building shouted an insult, to which some members of the march replied, "Shame!", but beyond that there was no reaction from the embassy.
Suites 902 and 903 are on the second floor from the top of the building (below). No one appeared to be there ...
... but someone on the second floor from the bottom of the building can be seen in a window recording the event:
Leaving the Burmese embassy, the march U-turns and proceeds back up Range Road to Laurier, on its way to the Chinese embassy:
The embassies are located in a very ritzy neighbourhood ...
... in fact, so ritzy that in the children's playground the sandbox has its castles pre-built:
The vast majority of the world's children can't even imagine such a playground.
Back on Laurier, the march heads further east and turns north onto Charlotte Street ...
On Charlotte they paused for a moment at the Russian embassy, letting Russia know that it is seen as complicit in the oppression of the Burmese people:
From the photos on the bulletin board attached to the strong iron fence guarding the Russian embassy, it would appear that Putin is proud of having been seen to shake Prime Minister Harper's hand.
Now the parade turns off Charlotte and onto Rideau Street, heading west back to King Edward ...
Arriving at King Edward, this time the parade turns north toward St. Patrick St...
At Murray Street (which becomes St. Patrick further south) they turn and trudge south toward the Chinese Embassy:
As a huge investor in the Burmese economy, the profits of which land mainly in the coffers of the junta, China is looked to all over the world as the country that could be instrumental in bringing about change in Burma. Below a plea is made to China to take responsibility for its part in the sufferings of the Burmese people:
That was a long trip, wasn't it. And then they had to go all the way back to Parliament Hill!
FREE, FREE, BURMA, BURMA!
CTV: Canadians protest against Burma's dictatorship
Demonstrators weathered clouds and rain in Vancouver to show their support for dissidents in Burma ... Rallies were also held on Saturday for Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, and Ottawa.
AFP: Protests around world against Myanmar crackdown
... thousands gathering in London and smaller actions in Sydney, Stockholm, Bangkok, Paris and elsewhere.
Burma dragnet still spread
The military claims that only 10 people died in the crackdown, but Burmese activists claim the total death toll was closer to 200, citing witness accounts of mass cremations following the mayhem and a steady flow of corpses from Rangoon's notorious Insein prison.