Bristol climate strike with Greta Thunberg. Photo: Naz Massoumi Bristol climate strike with Greta Thunberg. Photo: Naz Massoumi

Over 30,000 school students and activists shut down Bristol on Friday with Greta Thunberg to raise the alarm on climate change, reports Jennifer Van Heerden

Bristol saw thousands of school children flock to College Green on Friday to listen to seventeen year old, world renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg speak. Demonstrations across the city, despite the pouring rain and cold weather, held an atmosphere that was both vibrant and full of hope.

The tiny figure of Greta Thunberg could be seen at the front of the march, in her trademark yellow raincoat, carrying a banner reading ‘Skolstrejk for Klimatet’ which is Swedish for ‘School Strike for Climate’. She was welcomed to the city by local youth climate activists who walked alongside her in solidarity along the route.

Among the crowd many groups of school children, carrying placards and chanting to demand climate justice- now! Their enthusiasm and energy bringing some of the more senior members to tears. One Green Party member Sue Brown, who carried a placard of a bee, highlighting the growing threat to the insect species, stated: ‘I felt very emotional to see all the children, so young out here having to protest like this’.

Photo: Naz Massoumi

The crowds, estimated to be over 30,000, marched from College Green to Cabot Circus and back again. Within the demonstration, mothers with pushchairs walked alongside blown up pigs and cows promoting veganism. Extinction Rebellion sent twenty of the elusive Red Brigade to support the demo in their ethereal costumes, and Grandparents For Climate Action Now joined the procession with a banner reading “grandparents for a safe earth”.

Photo: Naz Massoumi

Protesters young and old joined together for one of the largest demonstrations the city has seen in recent years.

Just last month Bristol activists held a victory over the termination of plans for an airport expansion, which was celebrated by both Greta and the crowds lining the streets.

Major city centre roads and several schools were shut down for the day in anticipation of the vast numbers heading to the protest.

Photo: Naz Massoumi

School strike week 80. At least 30’000 people in the pouring rain today in Bristol! #fridaysforfuture #schoolstrike4climate #climatestrike

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 28, 2020