New Zealand students learn French

Submitted by Anon on 25 March, 2006 - 2:42

In the New Zealand city of Auckland, more than 1,000 secondary school students walked out of classes in protest at low pay for young workers, explicitly linking their protest to events in France.

A rally demanding equal pay with adults ended in scuffles with the police and two arrests after “Radical Youth” student representatives attempted to protect the demonstrators’ safety during a sit down at a major road junction.

One of those arrested, 17 year old Omar Hamed, 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, took me into the backroom of a nearby bank and hit me repeatedly in the face before using a choke hold on me, even though I was passive.”

In November, New Zealand saw strikes by mainly young workers in firms including Starbucks, Pizza Hut and KFC, protesting against low pay and what anti-capitalist activists worldwide are learning to call “precarité” (casualisation).

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