24 schools protest against Cigarette and Alcohol Companies
APIA: Thursday 17 May 2012: Students from twenty four schools around Samoa came together this morning to emphasize their mission statement for a Smokefree and Alcohol free environment by marching against the companies that produce cigarettes and alcohol in the country.
The march started from the British American Tobacco Samoa (BATS) premises a few meters inland from the Vailima Breweries at the Vaitele Industrial Zone.
Students carried placards and banners that carried anti-smoking and anti-alcohol messages and singing as the workers of both companies watched the long march that held up the traffic for half an hour.
Close to one thousand students took part and ended up lining the exterior security fence of Vailima Breweries singing and holding up their messages on placards and banners.
Uaea Laki Apelu, one of the organisers of the march said that both cigarettes and alcohol have contributed to the downfall of many Samoan youths. He believes that the Government should look at banning these products for good.
“The victims are always people while the companies make millions,” said the veteran Sports Administrator.
The march coincides with the schools Smokefree rugby tournament at Apia park.
The Smokefree and Alcohol free Task Force include the Ministry of Education and Health officials who believe that these products are no different from marijuana.
The Smokefree and Alcohol Free Task Force is now considering the peace protest march to be an annual event.