Fridays for Future: Greta Thunberg joins Sweden protests — live updates | News | DW

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  • Students in Asia and Australia have kicked off protests
  • Climate strikes are planned in more than 3,000 locations around the world
  • Activist Greta Thunberg has vowed to keep up the pressure “for as long as it takes”
  • Protesters are demanding world leaders stick to goals of the 2015 Paris deal to curb global warming

All times in GMT/UTC  

09:11 DW reporter in Berlin Giulia Saudelli says people are starting to gather in front of the capital’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, where the biggest protest in the country is expected to take place.

Some 10,000 people have registered, although rainy weather may impact the turnout. Protesters are planning to hold a sit-in at the landmark to call for more urgent government action to combat climate change. 

“Young protesters here have told me that they are finally glad to be on the streets again,” Saudelli said. “During the coronavirus pandemic the climate issue, they say, has been forgotten.”

08:56 German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze says she is “grateful” for the Fridays for Future movement because it has helped advance climate policy.

“Last year, we probably made more progress in climate policy than ever before in a comparable period,” she told Focus magazine.  

She stressed that climate protection was a government priority and that it had a “central role in the coronavirus economic stimulus package.”

German lawmakers last year approved plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030. They also set a goal to phase out coal by 2038, but activists warn the measures are not enough to mitigate climate change.

08:25 Friday’s international protest actions range from rallies and sit-ins to online discussions and other events. In South Korea, these activists staged a skit to represent the burning Earth behind a sign that reads: “Climate crisis emergency.”

07:31 Around 80 strikes are planned in Sweden, Greta Thunberg’s home country. 

The 17-year-old climate activist joined several other protesters outside the parliament building in Stockholm holding her now famous sign: “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for the climate).

“The main hope is, as always, to try to have an impact on the level of awareness and public opinion so that people will start becoming aware,” Thunberg told reporters.

“In Sweden gatherings over 50 people are not allowed due to COVID-19, so we adapt,” she added on Twitter. 

07:23 Prominent German climate activist Luisa Neubauer says the government’s “lack of interest in a secure future for our generation” has left young people no choice but to take to the streets. 

“We’ll strike with distance and masks,” she told the German press agency dpa, adding that the protests should represent “responsible, democratic resistance of a united society,” in contrast to some of the gatherings against coronavirus measures that have drawn large crowds in recent weeks.

Read more: Opinion: Global climate strikers take on inactive leaders

06:57 Protests are set to take place in more than 450 cities and towns across Germany.

Several thousand people are expected to attend a sit-in at Berlin’s Brandenburg gate, with organizers urging demonstrators to keep their distance and wear masks.

Protesting cyclists are also expected to ride through the capital in groups.

A planned rally at Munich’s Theresienwiese  — home of the famed Oktoberfest — has been capped at 500 participants.

Read moreHow successful are international climate efforts?

06:35 Students across Asia — from Japan and South Korea to the Philippines and Bangladesh — are joining the climate strike.

These South Korean protesters, wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection, gathered near the government complex in Seoul to make their voices heard: 

05:55 Students across Australia kicked off Friday’s day of climate action, with more than 500 events across the country.

“The pandemic hasn’t slowed us down,” 17-year-old Sydney protest organizer Veronica Hester told the German press agency dpa.

Gatherings were limited to smaller groups in line with COVID-19 rules. 

Climate protesters march through Sydney's city center

The student protest in Sydney’s city center was much smaller than the huge crowds seen in last year’s strikes

In Sydney’s city center, protesters chanted “The youth are rising! No more compromising!” and waved held up posters urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move away from coal and gas and invest in clean energy.

Fifteen-year-old activist Ambrose Hayes rode on a barge through Sydney Harbor to protest against investment in gas.

Climate activist Ambrose Hayes rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor

Climate activist Ambrose Hayes, 15, rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor

“I am here because I am fed up with the Australian government’s inaction on the climate crisis,” he told Reuters news agency. “We need to act now before it’s too late.”

“We’re going to face more intense droughts, more intense fires … these are just going to happen more and more and we’re not going to stop it if we don’t take action now.”

Catastrophic bushfires last summer have put climate change sharply into focus in Australia, where the conservative government continues to support the fossil fuel industry.

Read more‘Wildfires are climate fires’: How to talk about climate emergency  

05:45 The coronavirus pandemic came as a blow for climate protesters, forcing them to move their activism online.

Although students are returning to the streets, Friday’s global strike is taking place with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place, and won’t come close to last year’s mass demonstrations. Will the Fridays for Future movement be able to bounce back after the pandemic? Read more here. 

05:30 Young people in cities around the world are joining a global strike for the climate. 

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who began the school strike movement known as Fridays for Future, tweeted: “We will be back next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes.”

nm/rt

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