BY GRANT COLEMAN
WOLLONGONG — On March 20, 250 local high school, TAFE and university students joined an emergency student walkout in response to the beginning of the war on Iraq. The walkout was called by Wollongong Books not Bombs just two days earlier. A campus rally held on the same day attracted more than 100 Wollongong University students.
Resistance member Cassie Harris told the students at the walkout "John Howard is hiding from the Australian public because he cannot face the truth — the overwhelming majority of Australians oppose both a war on Iraq and Australian involvement."
With the walkout beginning just minutes before the US began its attack on Iraq, Smith's Hill High School student Anne Cayley explained that she was wearing a black armband in anticipation of things to come.
The mood on the march was defiant and enthusiastic. Although the war had begun by the time we reached the mall we were convinced that we had to keep fighting to stop this war. We held a mass die-in and poured red dye into the fountain to represent what the students of Baghdad would be facing.
The clear message of the day was: "Where else could we be, how could we sit at school in the face of war on Iraq — we can't"
An open platform was given for all students. For almost an hour student, after student made passionate and articulate speeches about the war, oil and the need for a government that was subservient to the wishes of the people.
Students also voted to make the March 26 student strike as big and broad as possible.
From Green Left Weekly, March 26, 2003.
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