Iraq: No to war in Iraq – Toronto students walk-out

This week, 150 students walked out of classes at York University in Toronto to join a world-wide student day of protest against the war in Iraq. Students marched through various buildings of the university and through several lecture halls urging more students to join. Information pickets had been set up in the morning blocking several roads entering the university with picketers delaying individual vehicles by three minutes before letting them enter.

No to war in Iraq.

Toronto students walk-out

Despite the fact that student leaders had been communicating with the university administration for a month leading up to the strike, university president Lorna Marsden phoned in police who arrested four picketers who did not disperse quickly enough. A fifth student was arrested after being confronted by a small group of pro-war protesters.

At a rally at the student centre, Canadian Federation of Students (Ontario) chairperson Joel Duff said that the war is important to students because money is being diverted from social services to war and said that, for example, the billions of dollars being pumped into purchase of new planes and ships by the Canadian government could be used to give each student in Canada a $4000 bursary.

I spoke to the rally on behalf of Socialist Alternative and argued that the war was not a war for security or against weapons of mass destruction but for oil and for profit and also said that students at York are not alone, thousands of students throughout North America are on strike and tens of thousands of students in Europe are being mobilised by Youth Against War to walk out against the war.

York student protesters were bussed downtown to join students from the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and George Brown College in a 500 strong anti-war rally at Dundas Square in the heart of Toronto’s commercial district.

Individuals and organisations that wish to send emails protesting York University’s decision to call out the police to harass a peaceful protest should email York University President Lorna Marsden at and cc their emails to

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March 2003