ACT students against nuclear tests and Francophobia

Issue 

ACT students against nuclear tests and Francophobia

By Tony Iltis

CANBERRA — On July 19, 100 students marched from Parliament House to the French embassy, chanting "Non aux essais! Oui   la paix!" (No to testing! Yes to peace!), as part of the secondary students' campaign against nuclear testing.

The French-language chants reflected the students' intention to counter media portrayals of the anti-nuclear movement as anti-French.

Rally organiser Ami Latona told Green Left Weekly that anti-French sentiment was more prevalent amongst people opposed to testing but not involved in the movement than at the protests. While establishment media portrayal of other rallies had distorted this, the July 19 action made it "so clear that they couldn't get it wrong".

The media incorrectly suggested that the rally had been organised by Hawker College. Latona, a Hawker student, commented that the school had "nothing to do with it".

Since the rally, secondary students have been painting banners in preparation for Hiroshima Day, and planning future actions including a possible Canberra-wide secondary student strike. The possibility of coordinating actions with students in Canberra's former French sister city, Nice, has also been mooted.

To discuss these and other plans, and firmly establish the secondary students' anti-nuclear network, students from all ACT schools and colleges are urged to attend an open meeting at the Canberra Resistance Centre on August 3 at 5pm. For more information call Dean, Chris or Aimee on 247 2424.