5000 Rally in Support of Shcharansky
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5000 Rally in Support of Shcharansky

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More than 5000 people massed outside the Soviet Consulate here last night answering the call of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) to demonstrate their support for Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky. McGill University law professor Irwin Cotler told the huge crowd that the Soviet Union has unleashed a wave of terror unprecedented in recent memory. “Shcharansky is each and every one of us,” Cotler said. “If freedom is imprisoned in the Soviet Union it will be imprisoned everywhere. The Soviet Union has such contempt for human rights that it no longer seeks even to disguise its behavior.”

Alan Rose, executive vice president of the CJC, said there was a danger that detente could turn into appeasement. “No government in the Western world, including the Canadian government can lend itself to appeasement of any kind. If Shcharansky can hear me, I say, all of humanity stands by your side. We will never forget you.”

Rabbi Mark Golub, president of the Board of Jewish Ministers of Montreal, led the crowd in a prayer to express the solidarity of Montreal Jews with Soviet Jewry. Father Barry Jones, chairman of the Interfaith Task Force for Soviet Jewry, asked each member of the crowd to raise a hand in support of the dissidents “in the name of those who cannot even raise a hand in freedom. As long as one man is locked away, none of us is totally free,” Jones said.


The executive committee of the Canadian Olympic Association, which oversees the selection and training of Canada’s Olympic competitors, will consider a plea from Avital Shcharansky, wife of Anatoly Shcharansky, to boycott the 1980 games in Moscow. However, it is unlikely that Canada will withdraw its athletes from the 1980 games to protest Shcharansky’s sentence, Canadian Olympic Association president Richard Pound said in a telephone conversation from Toronto.

“This is a human rights issue and I don’t know that it’s related directly to the Olympics,” Pound said. He added that the treatment of dissidents within a participating country is not sanctified in the International Olympic Committee rules. “It’s certainly something our executive will look at to see whether we ought to take a position,” he said. “I think that the Soviets want to clean up Moscow before the Olympics so there would be no demonstrations in 1980, just little children throwing flowers.”


(In Cleveland, some 600 people assembled at noon today in Public Square to register their protest against the sentencing of Shcharansky. The rally, sponsored by the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation, drew the support of a large number of community groups, including the Greater Cleveland Interchurch Council, the area’s Catholic Diocese and a variety of ethnic organizations, such as the Lithuanian American Society.

(Among those addressing the rally were a representative from the Mayor’s Office and Richard Celeste, the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. The participants in the rally wore black armbands bearing Shcharansky’s name to symbolize the death of human rights.)

(In Wayne, N.J., leaders of the Jewish Federation of North Jersey lit a torch at this community’s YM-YWHA this morning to protest the imprisonment of Shcharansky. A number of prominent New Jersey politicians, including State Senator Matthew Feldman and Republican Senatorial candidate Jeffrey Bell participated.)

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