VIDEO: Tates Ave closes for school protest by pupils

Tates Avenue in South Belfast was closed briefly yesterday to facilitate a passionate protest by parents and pupils of Fane Street Primary School.

The busy thoroughfare was shut for 45 minutes, beginning at around 2.30pm, while the protesters shouted slogans and waved placards about plans to shut the nearby school.

Pupils and parents protest on Tates Avenue about the future of Fane St primary school in South Belfast. The busy road was closed for 45 mins from around 2.30pm to facilitate the protest. Picture by Ben Lowry

Pupils and parents protest on Tates Avenue about the future of Fane St primary school in South Belfast. The busy road was closed for 45 mins from around 2.30pm to facilitate the protest. Picture by Ben Lowry

They are concerned about the handling of the proposal to amalgamate it with two other primary schools.

More than half the pupils at Fane Street are of immigrant backgrounds. 
Last week Patrick Yu, head of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, expressed fears that walking to a new school via the Village would present a “risk of racist attacks against ethnic minority and Muslim families”. He later apologised for predicting “Holy Cross number two”.

Jenny Andrews, whose daughter, Zara, 7, is at Fane Street, said: “Nobody will object to a new school for the three remaining schools. They must build a new school first.

“The children all get on. My daughter has friends from all cultures.”

Pupils and parents protest on Tates Avenue about the future of Fane St Primary School. Picture by Ben Lowry

Pupils and parents protest on Tates Avenue about the future of Fane St Primary School. Picture by Ben Lowry

During the cheerful protest, children of various nationalities shouted: “Save Our School.”