Two days before hundreds of people gathered in Portland Place outside the BBC headquarters to protest UK airstrikes from bombing Syria, Helen Pattison, 24, had already managed to convince a handful of friends to join the march.
She had spent hours campaigning at schools in East London – hoping to draw in a large number of people for the “Stop Bombing Syria” protest organised by the Stop the War Coalition movement.
She was also campaigning for students to be more aware and involved in what their government was doing and to provide solutions to problems that involve human suffering.
When Westminster World took to the streets of London to find out if other young people her age had attended the demonstration, most of those interviewed said no because they felt the government does not give them a platform to voice their opinions.
One such person is Nana Adensiu, 25, who told Westminster World that she did not join the march because she feels very little can be done to convince the government. “I don’t think the government listens to us young people. Even if we could do anything, what could we do? We can’t change anything and that’s our fault perhaps,” she said.
The east London native further told Westminster world that young people are not properly informed on the issue to give solutions to the government. “There is nothing really they can do but to demonstrate. But I personally didn’t join because it’s not my place.”
Agreeing with her, Abi Uddin, 19, who also did not attend the march said “to be quit honest I didn’t even know there was a demonstration. Even if I knew about it, I wouldn’t have gone.” She however gave her demanding work schedule as the reason.
Those who were well-informed about the demonstration, but did not join the rally like Margot, 21, said the reason why young people did not join the movement is because they are not well informed.
The Belgium native, who is studying in London, blamed lack of involvement to the media for not following a balanced reporting approached on the issue.
“They are just giving us one side. Most young people lack information and I think that’s the reason why they are not involved more,” she said. “Right now I don’t think there is much that they can contribute other than to demonstrate.”
Pattison, was the only young woman who stood on a stool, alongside a crowd to voice her vexation on the war, using an open microphone as her platform. She took a swing at the government and questioned its armed action in Syria.
“How come they can fund money to drop bombs on other countries to create refugees?” she asked. “But they can’t fund money for health, for education, and for young people to have a decent future?”
The protest comes after the government voted to support airstrikes on Syria by 397 votes too 233 early this month. The decision followed the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November and the unanimous agreement of the United Nations Security Council calling on the UN member states to ‘redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts’ committed by Islamic State group terrorists – ISIS.