Brussels, Sept. 25, 2020 (Reuters/Naija247news) Youths, united under Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, on Friday rallied across the world to demand urgent action to halt catastrophic climate change, in their first global action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisers made references to wild weather wreaking havoc across the world, from fires ravaging the U.S. West, to abnormal heatwaves in the Siberian Arctic and record floods in China.
They said the protests would remind politicians that while the world was focused on COVID-19, the climate crisis has not gone away.
Demonstrations were planned in over 3,100 locations, with Australia, Japan and Fiji among the first to kick off, though with pandemic-related curbs limiting the size of gatherings, much of the action shifted online.
In Stockholm, Thunberg and a handful of members of her group, Fridays for Future, assembled outside parliament.
On Thursday, she said in a tweet that the strikers will “be back next week, October and 2021. For as long as it takes.”
Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a 22-year-old Fridays for Future activist in the Philippines, said her government was failing to protect people from both the climate and COVID-19 crises.
“With the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve really been forced to see how disproportionate the impacts of any crisis are.
“They are still prioritising the rich over the poor, they are still not listening to the science,” she said.
In Australia, thousands of students took part in about 500 small gatherings and online protests, to demand investment in renewable energy and oppose funding for gas projects.
Organisers were asking people to post pictures on social media and join a 24-hour global Zoom call, while those taking to the streets were to follow local guidelines on the size of gatherings and social distancing.
The demonstrations came a year after two mammoth global strikes saw over six million people pour onto the streets, in what organisers said was the biggest climate mobilisation in history.
“Friday’s demonstrations will focus on solidarity with most affected people and regions.
“It will also focus on communities that have contributed little to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but who are on the frontline of devastating climate threats like floods, rising seas and locust invasions,’’ they added.