were arrested during a violent raid at their school the following day.
According to information gathered by American journalists on the scene, what happened inside was chaos. An English teacher told reporters from Electronic Iraq (EI) that the soldiers opened fire over students heads "to scare them." Students were tear gassed and beaten. One boy's arm was broken.
"Some of them were vomiting, some of them were crying and they were very afraid."
EI stated all teachers asked confirmed these accounts.
Correspondent Dahr Jamail, who arrived at Adnan Kheiralla after troops had entered, wrote that once released from the school, the students ran out crying and enraged.
"This is the democracy? This is the freedom? You see what the Americans are doing to us here?" they shouted.
As the tanks headed out, boys threw stones at them. Soldiers responded with random overhead gunfire, sending students, residents and the journalists scrambling for cover.
When EI reporter Jo Wilding returned to the school Dec. 18, she spoke with teachers and the students. Wilding noted:
"The pupils have painted over the sign at the school's entrance, renaming it Saddam's School. The depiction of Saddam on TV in American hands seems to have made him a heroic symbol even to many who disliked him.
"One of the boys told me, 'Only 40 kids out of all of us were on the first demonstration but after the raid, we will all go out on Saturday after school and demonstrate against the occupation. They have turned us all against the American soldiers. We don't care about their tanks; we don't care about their machine guns; we don't care about their prisons any more.'"
The arrested boys, estimated ages 14 to 18, were released. One student, persuaded by his teacher to talk to the reporters, said the army failed to notify parents of the arrests and that he and others were held in "chicken cages, about two metres by a metre and a half (approximately 6.5 ft x 5 ft) with criss cross wire" for seven to 10 hours.
Lisa Ashkenaz Croke