Germany: 10,000 school students on strike in Stuttgart

More than 10,000 school students went on strike with university and apprentice students joining the protests in Stuttgart today. The strike was part of a national day of action on February 25th, organised by Youth Against the War with demonstrations and protests in about ten cities. The demonstration was loud and lively, with protesters carrying placards and banners opposing the war.

The students made themselves heard by chanting "Strike in the schools, strike in the factories, that’s our answer to your war", "School students strike! School students strike!", and "Resistance against the war in every country". Some of the headmasters tried to intimidate the students by announcing disciplinary measures for those who took part in the protests. One of the schools was locked, thus forcing students to stay in the classrooms. But none of these measures could prevent the march taking place.

Because of the huge response and the wide participation of students it was possible to start with small rallies at several schools which then joined up in one big demonstration, picking up students along the way. Many students from other cities around Stuttgart took part in the protest as well. The strike got particularly good support in one of the apprentice schools. The SAV (Sozialistische Alternative – Socialist Alternative [CWI Germany]) took the initiative in lauching "Youth against the War" in Stuttgart and helped to organise the protests and prepare the strike. Franca Groener spoke at the final rally on behalf of SAV.

The demonstration was an important step forward in building the anti-war movement on a local level. Bernd Riexinger, union leader of Ver.di in Stuttgart, argued for workers to follow the example of school students and referred to the call for strike action by the DGB (German Trade Union Federation) in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Unfortunately this call only argues for a five minute strike on day X. School students, university students and apprentices’ initiative shows what is possible.

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February 2003