CHILDREN as young as 10 are being used as a tool to win public support in the protest against former mental patients, say social workers and psychiatrists. The Movement Against Discrimination yesterday accused Laguna City residents of making the youngsters turn up at demonstrations against the recently-opened Kwun Tong Amity Centre. Chairman and social worker Mak Hoi-wah was worried that the wrong ideas would be instilled in children who knew nothing about the rehabilitation centre. ''Children should be taught how to love and care about others and how to accept and protect the less fortunate. But unfortunately, children in Laguna City are being instilled with hatred and discrimination against the handicapped,'' he said. His comments follow an emotional protest against the centre by residents last week. Among the 30 protesters outside the centre were several children waving placards and chanting slogans. Movement vice-chairman Dr John Tse Wing-ling said: ''Children are being manipulated. The residents are using children to present a better image of their actions which are not justified at all. ''I wonder how many children who joined the protest understood what they were fighting for.'' Dr Tse, who is also a psychiatrist, said children were too young to form their own judgments and were easily led by their elders. He said residents should not have taught the children to chant slogans and wave banners which they were too young to understand.