Sergels square in the centre of Stockholm was filled with school students who demanded an immediate stop to preparations for war against Iraq.
No to war in Iraq. Sweden.
10,000 school students on strike in Stockholm against the war
With 10,000 out, the strike was the biggest school students’ protest since 1995. It was organised by School Students Against War, a campaign launched by Elevkampanjen/International Socialist Resistance, the international anti-capitalist youth organisation initiated by members of the Committee for a Workers’ International.
School students from over 100 schools joined the strike and the demonstration to the Riksdag (parliament). It was part of the global protest day of students and school students against the war.
At the meeting point in Sergels square, Bilbo Göransson spoke for School Students Against War, which he was a co-founder of in December, and for his school: "The demonstrations have been massive but they are not enough. War means mass terror and we will step up our struggle to stop it. Our strike is a way to set an example. If workers in Sweden and internationally also strike we can force the government to retreat."
Lena Ezelius, chairperson of one major branch of Kommunal (the council workers union), gave her support to School Students Against War and urged other Kommunal branches to join the Network against war.
Sofia Marklund, district chair of Elevkampanjen/ISR, reported on the strikes globally. Diana Castro spoke for a school north of Stockholm that was on strike the whole day: "It is impossible to create democracy through bombs. Saddam is a terrible dictator who should be overthrown. That can only be done by the Iraqi people with the support from youth and workers all over the world."
Outside parliament, MPs from four parties came out to be questionned. Urban Ahlin, Social Democratic chair of the Parliamentary committee for Foreign Affairs, refused to condemn war if the UN would sanction one – and was shouted down by the crowd. One of most popular slogans was: "No to war – with or without UN support". A resolution was handed over to MPs, in which Swedish arms exports were condemned as well as the war profits of shipping companies.
The Left Party MP, Lars Ohly, and Elin Gauffin of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) spoke against the war.
"All over the world war opponents are shouting ’No war for oil’. Bush and his friends have shares in the oil industry and their aim is to get hold of the oil and to increase their profits. This world order can’t be allowed to continue", said Elin Gauffin.
This was a demo with an excellent mood and extremely well organised. The campaign has received a lot of publicity, including national TV and radio.
Next step is a general strike in all schools on Day X – if the day of massive bombing arrives. Before then, we will demonstrate on International Womens’ day (8 March) and on the demo of the Network against the War on 15 March.
Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) got an excellent response at the demo, with 160 copies of Offensiv sold and 25 new subscribers of this paper. In the last week, five new members from SSAW have joined the party and many more are on their way.