(en)High School Walk-out For East Timor

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 16:57:50 +0000 (GMT)


Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 22:00:02 -0800 (PST)
From: East Timor Alert Network <etanvan@vcn.bc.ca>

... News Release ... Today ...

BURNABY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO WALK OUT OF CLASSES

Burnaby Central High School students to protest Canadian complicity in
East Timor genocide with a walk-out

"We are willing to face the consequences," says student, 16

VANCOUVER, Tuesday, December 10th, 1996 -- Today, between 50 to 100
students from Burnaby Central High School -- 4939 Canada Way -- will walk
out of their classes to protest the Canadian government's complicity in
the genocide in East Timor. The walk-out is being organized by a student
group called ETAC -- East Timor Awareness at Central. The walk-out will
occur at 1:45pm.

December 10th is celebrated internationally as Human Rights Day. As well,
today in Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize for 1996 will be jointly awarded to
East Timorese activists Jose Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo.

ETAC members feel the walk-out is important to both protest and raise
public awareness about Canada's policies towards East Timor. According to
ETAC member Chuck Demers, 16, "Our government plays a pivotal role in the
[East Timor] genocide."

Another student, Sacheen Desai, 16, added, "I think the public needs to be
more aware about what's going on [in East Timor]. We've started on a
student level but we want to reach more people."

Kristin Reid, 16, said the walk-out was important to show that there are
people that do care about East Timor and the role of the Canadian
government in the tragedy. "The ignorance of people upsets me," she said,
"There is sterilization and rape in East Timor and nobody knows."

ETAC members are particularly upset at the approval of military sales by
the Canadian government to Indonesia. According to Desai, "Canada's
[military permits] of $365 million are unbelievable." Demers added, "It's
time for students to stand up ... In the scheme of world politics, Canada
is not one of the good guys."

Students face possible reprisals from school authorities for their
walk-out, but according to Reid, "To show that we care, we are willing to
face the consequences."

Students will gather shortly after 1:45pm with placards and banners on the
traffic island across from their school. After speeches by ETAC
organizers, the students will take public transit to the Granville
Skytrain station downtown and march to the Foto-Base Gallery (231 Carrall
Street) in Gastown. There they will watch a special screening of the
recently released film, "Bitter Paradise: the Sell-out of East Timor"
which examines Canada's support for the occupation of East Timor by
Indonesia.

-30-

For more information about the walk-out, and to get in touch with ETAC
members, please phone Jaggi (251-9914) or David (261-7930).