International Conscientious Objection Day was marked on Monday by antimilitarists around the world, celebrating those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.
It’s a day when we celebrate refusal, disobedience, and everything that says no to militarism. But also a day when we say yes to nonviolence, solidarity, and reclaiming our bodies and communities for coexistence!
Please think about how you can support conscientious objectors (COs), for example by signing up to receive our CO-Alerts, writing a letter to a CO currently in prison, or making a donation to WRI, so we can continue coordinating international solidarity for conscientious objectors.
You might also think about holding an event on 15th May next year! Here are some of the creative things that happened around the world to mark this years' event:
In Colombia there were street actions in Barrancabermeja, where antimilitarist collective Quinto Mandamiento made street actions, with rap and breakdance artists performing and sharing information about conscientious objection. The Latin American antimilitarist network RAMALC, along with Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia Collective action of Colombian COs), ran a webinar educating people on militarisation in Colombia, and the impacts of the peace process (a recording of this will be available soon).
The CO Association in Turkey held a press conference where three more people declared their conscientious objection, and held a workshop on 'Conscientious objection during the state of emergency'. Others in Istanbul held a ‘Vegan sandwiches and Antimilitarism’ forum.
There was a CO day event in Canada:
— Tamara Lorincz (@TamaraLorincz) May 22, 2017
In Germany, there was a ceremony to mark the renaming of a street in an old army base after the Iraq refuser André Shepherd.
In South Korea, around 100 people ‘pedalled for peace’ around Seoul (see more photos here). Over 700 men are currently in prison in South Korea for refusing military service.
In the UK, vigils and events were held in Cambridge, Cardiff/Caerdydd, Edinburgh, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Norwich, Portsmouth and Sheffield (where a peace choir processed through town, ending in the Peace Gardens), and in the USA in Iowa City and Berkeley.