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by Gary Rumor
Saturday, Feb. 08, 2003 at 1:24 AM
L.A.C.E.S., a special 6th thru 12th grade school for college prep, students walked out Feb 6th at 11:40 AM to Protest Iraq war.
Students and supporters protesting the Iraq war took to the streets of West Los Angeles in a noisy celebration. Walking with signs demanding Peace Not War, No Blood for Oil, and other popular chants against war, the crowd of 200 to 300 according to Keith from the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) took to La Cienega Blvd., from 18th street where the school is. They went up La Cienega to Pico where they occupied all 4 corners chanting and waving to the passing vehicles who joined in with a cacophony of supportive horn honking. According to Michael, L.AC.E.S. Student and one of the organizers of the walkout today, the time has come for students to make their voices known.
Members of Not in Our Name anti war organization who came out to meet the students along with parents, community members, I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) activists, Ani War Action reps, persons from California Peace Coalition and paper hawkers from Workers Vanguard joined the students that left school at 11:40 Am today, Feb. 6th.
Community Relations Officer P.J. Webb, with a dozen other LAPD officers and a few traffic cops were waiting outside of the school before any students had appeared. Webb stated that they were there to protect the students from harm. When asked what the police would do if the students blocked traffic, he stated that the officers would keep the streets clear so that the students would be safe.
The Principal and several teacher s went with the students as monitors, when asked about the schools position the principal stated that he was there to protect the students from harm. Several parents indicated that they wanted to make sure the police did not act in a unfriendly manner.
A police unmarked surveliance van was photographing and filming the crowd along with several cars with detectives and under cover officers who tagged along. Camera crews from local stations also showed up as did Indy Media Radio reps and a reporter from the LA Times.
After 1/2 hour at La Cienega and Pico the enthusiastic crowd filling out with more community members went down Pico to Fairfax where they again occupied the intersection for a half hour, then doubling back Pico to La Cienega back to 18th street and the school by about 1:30 PM. Tara, a parent noted that truancy laws applied from 8:30 to 1:30 PM but that she doubted if any of the students would be decared truant.
Many students according to Natali, a student, were afraid that joining the action would jepardize their chances at getting into a good university. Several hundred more students joined in chanting against the war from behind the fence in the school yard but did not join the march.
Students concerned over the posibility of getting tickets or endangering oneanother made sure that everyone stayed on the side walks and only crossed at intersections with the lights. The police stayed to the side and there were no arrests.
There is a meeting tonight at the ANSWER Coalition office at 7 PM tonight Feb. 6th for High School anti war activists, also at the anarchist Anti War Action meeting on Sunday Feb 9th 5PM at Luna Tierra Sol Cafe. Not In Our Name has on going anti war meetings with High School students. Walkouts are planned at Roosevelt High School, Santa Monica High School and others. There is a massive national walkout planned for Feb. 21.
Photos will be posted by several of the participants.
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