LOCAL students have joined the fight to prevent war in Iraq by joining forces with the Stop the War Coalition.

The Sixth Form College, Farnborough is home to a large group of anti-war campaigners, who are urging their classmates to join the crusade.

In a small demonstration in the college’s canteen on Friday, the group handed out leaflets and urged other students to sign a petition to be presented to local MP Gerald Howarth.

A total of 20 students running the group hope to encourage others to take part in a larger demonstration at Embankment, London, on Saturday.

Jamie Merrill, 18, of Farnborough, said: “I started the group and it’s just grown and grown.

“We have about 20 people who organise things at the moment and are aiming to get as many students as possible to come along to the national demonstration on Saturday.

“We’ve sent letters to Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth and already have 300 signatures on our petition.

“We are hoping to get more today.”

Jamie added: “Eighty per cent of people are opposed to this war and I can bet you that a lot of them are students.

“That’s a big reason as to why we set this up — we want to get people to march.

“The college doesn’t support our views, but it isn’t against them either. We are just allowed the freedom of speech.”

Another student, Jenni Chagase, 16, of Farnborough, said: “I think it’s stupid and totally unnecessary for Bush to attack Iraq. This conflict over weapons has been going on for years and I don’t think this will help to stop terrorists.”

The march, jointly orga-nised by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Britain, hopes to bring campaigners like Jamie and his group together in a demonstration for peace.

Last September they held the country’s largest ever anti-war demonstration when 400,000 marched.

This year organisers are hoping for more.

Have Your Say, page 4