Youth referendum

Amy, Loren and Maddy - three 13-year-olds from London - had to overcome many hurdles to get to the demo Amy: Only eight of us made it here today. Maddy: The teachers were guarding the doors, not letting anyone out. We just waited until their backs were turned and made a break for it. They were dead set against us coming here. They threatened us in assembly that anyone who did was going to get excluded from school. Loren: A lot of people wanted to come today, but we are the only people that made it. If they hadn't blocked the doors, 30 would have come - easy. Amy: Our parents are all up for it. My dad was for it because he went through the protests against the Vietnam war in the 1960s. So he said I should be here. Loren: The school is out of order trying to not let us go. My dad was OK as well, but he couldn't write me a note saying, 'I give my daughter permission to bunk'! We may get in loads of trouble, but we don't really care. It's more important to be here: it's more important to stop the war. This is our future that's at stake. Amy: The House of Commons is not about democracy. They are not listening to us - the people. They do what they want and we have no influence over them. They didn't ask us if we wanted to go to war - in fact, we told them we didn't, and they are still going ahead. Loren: Here today, the police are just throwing kids around - they're attacking us. We are trying to be peaceful, but they are attacking us. Maddy: At the moment, kids have no chance to say what they think. There should be something like a kids' referendum where we can make our voices heard. Loren: I agree with that. It's our future. They shouldn't get to decide everything. What we say needs to be heard. Amy: And we say - Don't attack Iraq! There will be consequences Nabs is 16 and from a school in north London The three of us have taken a day off to come down here - our school is really pro-war, so we couldn't get a lot of support from other pupils. There are a lot of Jewish people and a lot of rich pupils there - I'm not being racist or anything, but they are. My views are not being represented in parliament. At the moment this demo is just showing solidarity, as the government have made up their mind and there is nothing we can do about it. They never take our views into account, and they should. We are the future and they are going to make the same mess as they did in the 1960s with Vietnam. They should listen to us, or there will be consequences. I don't know what to do if they don't listen to us - just keep protesting, I suppose. If there was a general election, I'd vote for you! For the communists or the socialists - one or the other. If I thought that might be a wasted vote and I had to vote for someone tomorrow, I'd vote for the Lib Dems. I know they're for capitalism, but they are anti-war, aren't they? And they have more of a chance of winning an election than you have. At the moment, anyway "¦ Breaking free Joey and Sophie go to Prendergast school, Lewisham Joey: There are quite a few of us on strike today - two groups of us have come down here. That's a good turnout, as the teachers were really against us doing it. They wouldn't let us out at first. All our parents have been phoned and told we are truanting. Julie: I don't really know what can be done now, but we thought that if we came along in numbers at least they would know that the kids care. We all went to the big one on February 15 and if they didn't take any notice of that one, this one has got no chance. But at least we're here. Joey: There are no politicians I respect any more, really. I don't think I would vote for any of them. Sophie: I would vote for anyone who wasn't going to go to war - the Liberal Democrats, perhaps. Joey: We have seen that young people have been politicised by this war. We raised money for Kosova and stuff like that when I was in primary school, but this is different. This is an important part of our education. Sophie: And it's good to be outside school, but still learning. In our school, they have this really strict dress policy. OK, we have to wear uniforms, but we should be allowed to wear them how we want to wear them - we shouldn't have to have our top buttons done up all the time, or the same ties and stuff. So it feels a bit like you're in prison, because you are not able to do what you want. Even small stuff. Like, the girls are not allowed to wear trousers and we have been told at our school council that we are not even allowed to bring the issue up! That's the place where we are meant to be able to debate and negotiate with the teachers and we can't even talk about it! Where's the democracy in that? Julie: And I've just had this text message - parents are getting fined for letting their kids come on this. Mine are going to be so angry - with the school, not me "¦ Making a difference Evan and Cat are from Chesham in South Bucks Evan: I've always taken an anti-war stance and I really felt it was necessary to be here today. I've had a lot of people say to me that it's too late to stop this war, but it's never too late. There are thousands and thousands of individuals who want to make a difference - when they unite as one, they are going to make a difference. Cat: The fact that we are going to bomb thousands of innocent civilians - children or adults "¦ they are the same as us. We are going to make them suffer not just tomorrow, or for some weeks, but for years to come. No one deserves that. The fact that there's no second resolution from the UN is just a shedding of democracy. The US and Britain have a total contempt for democracy. Evan: The fact that Tony Blair could have used the royal prerogative shows the same contempt. Clearly, the majority of people are against this war - and the royal prerogative would give him a loophole to go round parliament if he needed it. If this country were truly democratic, they would hold a referendum on such a huge issue. Cat: MPs are meant to be in parliament to represent the entire population, and the demonstrations we have seen around the country just underline that they are not - not just people who vote: kids too! Obvious Dalia and Soraya came up from Ravensbourne school in Bromley, Kent Dalia: We're here to stop the war. This country is turning into a dictatorship just as much as Iraq is. Two million people marched and the government still won't listen. Soraya: They are not thinking of the consequence of the war at all. They're only think of the benefit they are going to get from it. They want the oil - it's obvious. Dalia: The oil is a big factor in this war. They are not thinking of what the people want, which is what the government is meant to do. Soraya: Tony Blair needs to have his own opinions, not just follow Bush. Dalia: We need an organisation of our own. We are the adults of the future and what is being done will affect our lives. We need to have a say, now.