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Young girls with placards

Young protesters at 'Youth Strike 4 Climate' demonstration, February 2019. Photo: Shabbir Lakha

Thousands of school students across the world have already taken to the streets in today's coordinated stand against climate change, reports John Westmoreland

Counterfire will be providing live action from around the world as today’s School Climate Strikes happen. 

Today across the world there are 1,659 Friday Climate Strike protests taking place around the World. This is the largest internationally coordinated protest since millions opposed the US led war in Iraq in 2003.

In Belgium later today trade unionists will be joining School Climate Strikers in taking action. The spectre of a determined and energised youth movement leading workers in strike action should alarm political leaders whose apathy in the face of crisis has prompted the protests.

In Australia the protesters are confronting a government whose supply of fossil fuels to China is causing massive environmental damage. A key demand of strikers today is to shut down the Adani coal mine as awareness of the consequences grows.

Harley Hickey, 13, from Walgett in northern New South Wales, said she was seeing her future disappear before her eyes.

“I see the temperatures reaching 50 degrees during summer in my community,” she said. “We have two rivers in Walgett - the Barwon and Namoi River but both are dry.

“No water means no life. Where did our water go? A lot of towns along these rivers are suffering because of our government’s bad decisions.”

In Sydney and in Melbourne, huge crowds of students filled public spaces this morning shouting at the top of their lungs.

They brought banners and signs reading “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea”, “I’m sure the dinosaurs thought they had time too”, “There’s no Planet B” and “We’ll be less activist if you’ll be less shit”.

Footage of the demonstrations can be seen here.

There are 20,000 protesters on the streets of Melbourne this morning.

Australia is the most important centre in Asia to engage in climate action as their protests will get the attention of China. The Australian government is determined to slap down the activists.

However in New Zealand climate activism by students is getting the tacit support of Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. Protests are going ahead despite reported mass shootings in mosques in Christchurch.

In Asia there are further mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, India and the Philippines. Placards across the world are testament to the creativity of young people who are demanding change and can see the possibility of leading it.

John Westmoreland

John Westmoreland

John is a history teacher and UCU rep. He is an active member of the People's Assembly and writes regularly for Counterfire.

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