>Children’s Crusade: Students Protest

>There has been some disunity between the Education Ministry and the teacher’s union regarding the standard of education in Austria and how to improve it. The teachers were presented with the option of adding two more hours (unpaid) to their workweek, which they refused. A compromise was found in which the teachers worked one hour more, and classes would be held on 5 days in the school year which are traditionally free days for students. Because of this, the students held a one-day strike, skipping school to convene in designated public squares in cities across the country. According to the Austrian news services the protests drew 60,000 pupils, with 25,000 in Vienna alone, 12,000 in Linz.
From what I gather, the protest in Innsbruck was either poorly organized or the organization was poorly followed. Passing through the crowd in front of the Landestheater, it seemed that 25% of the teenagers were there to actually demonstrate, 50% were just hanging around, and 25% were hanging around, drinking beer, and exercising their right to be obnoxious.
The police presence (not big, between 20 and 30 altogether) was patient, even when the kids wanted to (spontaneously) take off on a march. Someone in the crowd threw something at them but they didn’t respond to it.
There is, sadly, litter all over the city center. I realize that large groups of people are going to leave behind trash, and that I am getting perilously close to that “you kids get off my lawn!” age. Still, I do view this theater as my home somehow, and it pains me to see the broken glass and trash left behind by people who had supposedly gathered there for their principles. I expected more from them.

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