The article below is from the
front page of the Local section of the Ottawa Citizen (June 1, 1989).
That was a week after Coalition to Oppose the Arms
Trade's very successful peace march which wound its way through downtown
Ottawa streets to the site of Canada's largest, weapons-export trade show.
Thousands of people walked the three kilometers from Confederation Park to
Lansdowne Park where the ARMX weapons exhibition was being held. Roy,
Sylvia, Richard (COAT's founder and coordinator), were central to organising
this large COAT event, and many others over the decades. The antiARMX rally was
part of a much broader COAT campaign which led the Ottawa City Council to pass a
bylaw banning all future arms trade shows, including ARMX, from being
held on municipal property. That bylaw, passed six weeks before
COAT's huge May protest, remained in place for 20 years until it was overturned
by a regressive City Council that was determined to allow CANSEC to be held at
the City of Ottawa's Lansdowne Park facilities. CANSEC has now taken ARMX's
place as Canada's largest arms export event. COAT was very active in
initiating and organising protests against several annual CANSEC weapons shows
held at Lansdowne Park, twenty years after ARMX '89. (Read more about Roy and
Sylvia's involvement in COAT on the "Peace"
page of this website.)
The banner says "Wage Nonviolence: Resist State Terrorism." See below for a photo of it at ARMX '89. (See more COAT banners here.)
This article was written a few months before COAT began to publish its magazine, Press for Conversion! This publishing venture has been a big part of what has kept Richard busy for almost 30 years. Although it is a "steady job" supported by peace activists across Canada, it has never been "lucrative." The very real and hard work of the anti-war movement never is. Neither will it ever end....
This photo shows Richard being interviewed for CBC TV during COAT's May 1989 peace march through Ottawa to the ARMX weapons bazaar. The white banner in the background says "COAT" "DisARMX" and "No more shopping days til peace." The banner Richard is holding (seen in the Citizen article above), depicts a cruise missile and various low-flying warplanes leaving bloodtrails across the sky. This banner, painted by Richard, reflects opposition to US/NATO test flights that were allowed by the Canadian government over unceded Indigenous lands.
This was an issue that moved Roy, Sylvia and Richard to take part in civil disobedience actions. Along with more than 50 others, these three Sanders were arrested for sitting down and blocking the street in front of the War Department. It was the day after Remembrance Day and Roy and Sylvia were wearing their WWII medals. (Read about Roy's war years.)
Sylvia and Richard were also
arrested at ARMX although all charges were dropped against the 150 who blocked
the gates of this weapons export event. This deprived resisters of their
"day in court" to condemn the Government of Canada for the crimes against peace
and crimes against humanity caused by their allowing (indeed promoting) the sale
of Canadian weapons systems to many the world's most violent, undemocratic
governments. (See the section on the "Alliance for Nonviolent Action" in
the "Peace" page of this