Socialist Worker

School students rage against the horrors of war

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2018

Students from Quintin Kynaston protesting against Blair when he visited their school last week (Pic: Richard Seymour)

Students from Quintin Kynaston protesting against Blair when he visited their school last week (Pic: Richard Seymour)

Students at Quintin Kynaston school in north west London showed Tony Blair what they think of his warmongering when they protested against his visit to their school.

They booed and jeered him when he arrived, just before he made his announcement that he will leave office in the next 12 months.

Around 40 students were kept in the school to meet Blair - the pupils that the teachers thought would be the least disruptive. The rest were sent home.

Simon Byrne, the convenor of School Students Against The War, told Socialist Worker, “Over 100 school students stayed outside the school and protested against Blair.

“The teachers were very heavy handed. They tried to usher school students away from the school and ripped posters out of their hands. One even said students would be excluded if they joined the protest.

“They were afraid that Blair’s visit was going to be a PR disaster - which it was.

“When Blair came all the school students chanted, ‘Tony, Tony, Tony - out, out, out.’

“It was a huge outpouring of anti-Blair feeling. The teachers and parts of the media tried to present the protest as young people being manipulated by ‘outside agitators’, but everyone there was demonstrating because they were opposed to war.”

One student from the school said she was on the protest because “Blair killed thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon, and I don’t think he should be prime minister”.

The school management suspended Robin Sivapalan, a Unison union activist and teaching assistant at the school, after the demonstration. Unison is defending Robin.

He told Socialist Worker, “The demonstration was brilliant. It gave a chance for disenfranchised Muslim students, and others, to make their voices heard.

“It was a disgrace to invite Tony Blair to a school which has refugees from Iraq and Lebanon.

“We are also opposing Quintin Kynaston becoming a trust school, which is the beginning of the privatisation of education.”

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Article information

Sat 16 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2018
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