British Students Protest Iraq War
By JANE WARDELL, Associated Press Writer
LONDON, Associated Press, 5 March - Teenagers chanting "No war for oil" staged a rowdy sit-in outside Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s official residence Wednesday, warning the prime minister that one day soon they would be voters, as thousands of youths cut class worldwide to protest a possible war with Iraq.
The protest by British students — mostly ages 13 to 16 — appeared to catch security at No. 10 Downing St. by surprise and overshadowed the presentation of a petition by poets against the war. Extra police were brought in to control the protesters when some tried to scale the gates.
"We don't mean anything to Blair because we can't vote. But we will be able to soon, and he will pay the price for a war in Iraq," said 16-year-old Emma Marriott.
President Bush (news - web sites) and Blair have threatened to invade Iraq because they feel Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) has not made good on promises to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies it has such weapons and many countries, led by France and Germany, say U.N. weapons inspections should be given more time.
Thousands of students walked out of schools to rally in Britain, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Bangladesh and other countries Wednesday to call for peace.
The "Books not Bombs" strike was being coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, formed following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States. Organizers said they expect students to walk out of class in hundreds of schools and universities across the globe.
The British Stop The War coalition, which organized last month's mass march of up to 1 million people through London, said some of the British students were members of its movement.
Thousands of Bangladeshis, including students, professionals and politicians, also held marches and burnt effigies of President Bush, carrying bamboo and paper placards with slogans like "War No. Peace Yes" and "No Blood for Oil."
In Sweden, about 5,000 students gathered for a peaceful rally in Stockholm before marching through the city with banners reading "Stop the War," and "Fight U.S. Imperialism."
Also Wednesday, half a million Egyptians took part in a state-orchestrated demonstration against war in Iraq, with thousands of workers bused in to Cairo from various public companies.