School students protests: round-up and letters

Submitted by Anon on 21 March, 2003 - 1:41

School students protests are now taking place every day. As we go to press, we have heard of a protest in Manchester 5,000 strong. Send your reports and pictures to us.
Leicester

On the morning of 7 March schools in Leicester walked out with everyone converging on the city centre. Around 1,000 walked out from maybe 10 schools around the county. About 500 made it to the city centre protests. The event was marred by heavy handed policing. The police declared the protest an "unlawful assembly" and tried to make the students disperse. At this point the police made an arrest.

Many went to the police station to protest. The police were again heavy handed, pushing school students and there have been reports of some being hit by police officers. By the end of the day there were 8 arrests.

Somewhere between 800 and 1000 school students from about a dozen Leicestershire schools and colleges took part in a protest on Friday, 7 March. The police were taken completely by surprise, and panicked, trying to use public order legislation like the Criminal Justice Act to force protestors to disperse.

Stop Suspensions!

Two pupils at Otley Prince Henry High School have been suspended for making speeches in favour of a walkout today. The students were told to go home after teachers learned of plans for the demonstration. One of the students, Sachin, 16, said he had simply spoken up in favour of protesting against the potential war. He said: "The majority of our school does not have democratic rights. They have no means to express themselves, and they don't have a voice in real terms. The only way we can, as minors, express ourselves is through demonstration." The school said the pupils were suspended because they had incited others to stage a walk-out, breaking health and safety rules and the school's behavioural policy. Send your messages of protest to the school: Otley Prince Henry's Grammar School, Farnley Lane, Otley,West Yorkshire, LS21 2BB

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle was forced to close after an anti-war protest on Monday 17 March, with 40-50 people including school pupils, who organised the protest.

This follows a protest in the previous week by around 35 pupils from Broughton High School in Edinburgh who walked out of classes to protest outside the First Minister's residence, Bute House. Teaching staff told pupils that they weren't allowed to leave the building if they were under 16, so some enterprising pupils set off the fire alarm and refused to go back inside.

We need to change the world

"Around 70 people made it out on 5 March, although some were kept in school because staff locked the gates. We marched down to Parliament and joined the protests there. We're now building for Day X. This student movement is massive and dynamic, but it should not end with this issue. In the past, young people have been at the forefront of movements that have had massive effects on society. The movement has the potential to change the world and I believe that it could stop the system from which wars develop: capitalism."
Sam Beste, 16, Sortismere School, Muswell Hill

It's all about oil

"The walkout on 5 March at our school was organised by younger students in school but some of the Sixth Form like me walked out too. There were about 200 of us. We're planning for Day X next, and we've got much more support now than last time. This war is disgusting, they're lying, and it's all about oil."
Rose, Camden School for Girls

All the latest action (and politics too): www.studentstopwar.org.uk

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