Demonstration in Ottawa in support of two Canadians detained in China

Hundreds of people demonstrated Sunday in Ottawa in support of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, to mark the 1,000th day of detention who denounced the “injustice” of these two men in China.

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Other gatherings were held elsewhere in Canada but also in Brussels, New York, Washington, Seoul and Singapore.

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and chancellor Michael Spavor were arrested in December 2018 in China on espionage charges, causing an unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing.

Canada views their detention as a retaliatory measure after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.

Michael Spavor, businessman and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, was tried in March of this year. Mr Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison, a sentence that Ottawa considered “totally unacceptable”. No decision has been made public in Mr. Kovrig’s case.

“These are unfair arrests,” Kovrig’s wife, Fina Ngibula, told the rally in Ottawa.

“These rallies my solidarity with our Michael,” she said, “to pay tribute to their strength and resilience and also to call for action to finally break the deadlock, bring them home, and do everything they can to end this injustice.”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Sunday condemned what he called “arbitrary arrests” by China and said the United States “stands with Canada”.

“The international community calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately and unconditionally release Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig,” he said in a statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

The demonstration was attended by Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, a number of elected opposition officials and the US ambassador to Canada.

Participants took 7,000 steps to remind everyone that Michael Kovrig was trying to hit that number every day “in his little windowless cell,” according to his wife.

“He takes these seven thousand steps in a circle, often holding a book, reading, reciting hymns, and prayers – 5 kilometers of courage and reflection. Today, he will not be alone in this walk.

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