After France, 1,000 students walk out in Auckland NZ

In Auckland, New Zealand today, over 1,000 high school students walked out of class to protest against youth pay rates, whilst linking their protest to the events in France.

Submitted by libcom on March 20, 2006

The protest ended with some violence and a sit-down protest in a major intersection.

Students from schools including Auckland Girls Grammar, Selwyn College, Epsom Girls and Senior College went to a rally during school hours to demand equal pay with adults.

There was a scuffle during the protests and two arrests, alongside accusations of police violence against a 17-year-old safety marshall.

Protest spokesman Joseph Minto was an eyewitness at the scene: “After students began to sit down in protest at an intersection, I noticed an ambulance heading rapidly towards us. Students had not noticed the ambulance, which hadn’t sounded its siren until it was dangerously close, and still showed no signs of slowing down. With ten meters to go a Radical Youth safety marshal, who had told the police he was taking personal responsibility for the demonstrators safety, attempted to slow down the rapidly advancing ambulance which was threatening the safety of marchers by putting himself in the path of the vehicle.”

The safety marshal, Omar Hamed, a seventeen-year-old Auckland University student later said, “I was going to move from the road as soon as I had accounted for the safety of the other demonstrators. But the officers at the scene arrested me and took me into the backroom of a nearby Westpac bank and hit me repeatedly in the face before using a choke hold on me, even though I was passive.”

Video footage here (related video - youth pay protest turns riotous)