School protest action ends peacefully

A demonstration by school pupils against the government’s decision to stick to 1,040 hours of compulsory education a year, passed off peacefully in Amsterdam on Friday, according to police and media reports.

Estimates of the number of demonstrators varied, with local tv station AT5 putting the figure at 15,000.
There was a heavy police presence around the Museumplein with riot police on standby in an effort to prevent a repeat of the disturbances during a protest on Monday when dozens of schoolchildren were arrested.
By 2pm, as police urged pupils to leave the area, some 20 people had been arrested for a variety of public order offences.
Schoolchildren’s union Laks, which organised the event, said it was pleased with the way the demonstration had gone.
The CNV union federation and teachers’ union Aob both come out in support of the pupils, saying concessions made by junior education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt do not go far enough.
‘A broad band of between 960 hours and 1040 hours [of compulsory lessons] gives schools the room to offer quality education,’ a spokesman said.
Some schools organised bus trips to take demonstrators to the capital, but others banned their pupils from attending.
The rest of the country was quiet, with no protest actions reported in Rotterdam, Utrecht or The Hague, news agencies said.

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