On Day ‘X’, walk-outs took place in dozens of school and colleges throughout Northern Ireland. Big rallies took place in Belfast, Derry and Omagh. Walk-outs happened also in Enniskillen, Lisburn, Newry, Coleraine, Limavady, Ballynahinch, Bangor, Armagh and other towns.
Over a thousand school and third-level students joined the Belfast Youth Against the War rally on Day ‘X’ outside City Hall. Speakers from Friends in Lisburn, Meanscoil, Fortwilliam, St. Marys, Strangford College and St. Dominics spoke to the crowd about why they were opposed to the war.
Billy, who had helped organise the walk-outs from St. Marys said the war would lead to the deaths of thousands of young people who have suffered enough under Saddam Hussein and from twelve years of UN sanctions.
Representing the I.N.T.O. (teachers union), Mary Cahillane defended all school students who had walked-out to join the rally. Mary told the crowd that her members would not participate in any action to prevent students from protesting, and called on fellow workers to follow the example of the Youth
Against the War walk-outs and rallies.
Carmel Gates, President of NIPSA the largest trade union in Northern Ireland, spoke to the rally in a personal capacity. Carmel made the call for the trade union movement to follow the lead given by Youth Against the War and organise walk-outs from workplaces.
Derry Day X
Youth Against the War in Derry led walk-outs from almost all secondary and grammar schools in the city to join a rally at the Guildhall. Hundreds marched from their schools and colleges to join with others at the rally. Over a thousand people listened to speeches from local anti-war activists, trade unionists, an Iraqi anti-war speaker and Youth Against the War.
Seamas O’Reilly of Youth Against the War and Socialist Youth, was introduced on the platform after Socialist Youth was praised for the months of work we have put in to organising young people against the war.
Omagh Day X
On day X 350 students walked out of schools in Omagh and converged at a rally at the courthouse to show their continued opposition to Bush and Blair’s imperialistic war against Iraq. Another 400 were locked into the schools. It was a lively, noisy demo. Daniel Waldron, secretary of Omagh Socialist Youth, said the "allies’" actions are hypocritical and will not lead to real freedom for the people of Iraq. Youth Against War leaflets were snapped up and many said they were looking forward to the next rally, which will be even bigger.
[This is an extract from a Socialist Youth Newsletter
circulated on March 28th.]
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