South London school walkout for Palestine as Tory MP visits

Students at Greenshaw school sixth form in Sutton staged a pro-Palestine protest against Tory MP Paul Scully

By Thomas Foster

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Thursday 25 April 2024

Issue 2903

Students at the school walkout for Palestine

Around 80 students walked out of Greenshaw High School in Sutton, south London, on Thursday. It was in response to local Tory MP Paul Scully, who voted against a ceasefire, coming to visit the school.

The students walked out demanding a ceasefire and an end to all arms sales to Israel.

As students were outside the school gates, a speaker said, “We remember those whose culture is being annihilated. This is happening in Gaza as we speak.

“And it has been happening across Palestinian land for decades. Israel is destroying their culture.”

Tommy, a student at Green Shaw High School, told Socialist Worker, “It turned into a walkout because we heard Paul Scully would be showing up. A lot of people were out of lessons when they were supposed to be in them, which is a strong statement.

“It was a very spontaneous action. The plan was put together an hour before the protest. During breaktime ten of us went round telling people we were walking out. We focused on those who we thought would come out and prioritised them.

“The spontaneity showed that people were enthusiastic enough to join at the drop of the hat.”

Tommy added that the students were also “standing in solidarity with the US students who are facing oppression” after occupying a number of university campuses.

Scully came to speak to the students who had walked out. Tommy said, “People were pressing him for answers on why he voted against the ceasefire and why our government isn’t stopping arms to Israel.”

“Students got annoyed because he had nothing good to say. He just came to say the British position and refused to step too far outside of line because he doesn’t want to lose his status in the Tory Party.”

Amid the debate, Scully did admit to the protesters, “When talking about the right of Palestine to defend itself, of course it does in Gaza.”

And later he said, “It has the right to defend itself against illegal settlements happening in the West Bank.”

Scully hasn’t backed up such words with his actions in parliament.

Teachers were supportive of the strike and students came away emboldened, with confidence growing even during the protest.

Tommy spoke on the significance of the protest, saying, “When students speak up and people see us speaking up, it opens up people’s minds and wins them over to the Palestine movement.

“It is urgent with the expected invasion of Rafah. We need everyone around the world showing solidarity.”

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